Does the legal system have a structure (according to sources and branches of law, general and special parts of codes, principles, rules and exceptions in regulation, etc.), or structuring is taken into it from the outside? And providing that it is taken, whoever is taking it? For neither principles, nor rules are given in themselves, separated from each other in a way classified in terms of the law's taxonomic systemicity as bearing their own separate meaning. All this can be but the result of a constitutive act. Based upon legal doctrines, it is judicial practice that builds different propositions into either principles or rules. Or, it is not logic itself that labels anything as a structuring element identified as either principle or rule but we, who ponder the mode of how to construct a sequence of distinction, deduction and justification conclusive enough to convince those controlling the issue we propose in the procedural hierarchy. Therefore the structuring features in law are construed and construing, constructed and constructing at the same time, for they do not and cannot exist in and by themselves at all.
Anglo-American and French, as well as German, Spanish and Hungarian variations to “Law and Literature” are surveyed for that as to the nature of the discipline some conclusions can be formulated. Accordingly, “Law and Literature” recalls that which is infinite in fallibility and which is not transparent in its simplicity, that is, the situation confronted that we may not avoid deciding about despite the fact that we may not get to a final understanding. What is said thereby is that “Law and Literature” is just a life-substitute. Like an artificial ersatz, it helps one to see out from what he/she cannot surpass. What it is all about is perhaps not simply bridging the gap between the law’s proposition and the case of law, with unavoidable tensions confronting the general and the individual, as well as the abstract and the concrete. Instead, it is more about live meditation, professional methodicalness stepped back in order to gain further perspectives and renewed reflection from a distance, so that the underlying reason for the legal (and especially judicial) profession can be recurrently rethought. In a fictional form, literature is the symbol and synonym of reflected life, a field where genuine human fates can be represented. Thereby, at the same time it is a substitute for theology, rooted in earthly existence as a supply to foster feeling kinds of, or substitutes to, transcendence.
The Atlantic civilisation has over the past centuries been composed of two definitely diverging ethoses and social philosophical inspirations, differing also by their very foundations. The contrasts are perhaps most conspicuous today as to be seen in the difference between approaches to life as a struggle and to law as a game within it. No doubt, on the one hand, there prevails the rest of (1) a European Christian tradition, characterised by communal ethos, with provision of rights as counter-balanced by obligations, in which priority is given to the peace of society and a traditional culture of virtues is promoted to both circumvent excesses and acknowledge human rights, with a focus on prevention of and remedy to actual harms. It is such an environment within which homo ludens as a type of the playful human who is at the same time dutiful and carefree-entirely joyful-constitutes a limiting value. If and insofar as struggle appears at all on the scene, it is mostly recognised as a fight for excellence. As a pathologic version, the loneliness of those staying away from participation may lead to psychical disorders which require subconscious re-compensation, the symbolic sanctioning of which was once accomplished by the psycho-analysis. On the other, there has also evolved (2) an Americanised individualistic atomisation of society, expecting order out of chaos, with absolutisation of rights ascribed to individuals, all closed back in loneliness. As an outcome, obligations are circumvented by entitlements, and unrestrained struggle becomes a part of any normal course of life with the deployment of human rights just to neutralise (if not disintegrate) communitycentred standards. “Life is struggle”-the hero of our brave new world enunciates the words as a commonplace with teeth clenched, convinced that life is barely anything but fight against anybody else (as an improved version, hailed as civilisatory advancement as re-actualising-under the pretext of maximising the chances of-the ominous bellum omnium contra omnes, formulated once in early modern England). Starting from the common deployment of some symbolical “cynical acid” in foundation of modern formal law but developing through differentiated ways of how to search for reason and systemicity in law, the conceptual and methodical effect of this very division is shown in the paper within the perspectives for curing malpractice in law and also in the role of ethics in economy.
From amongst legal theories of Socialisms’ Marxism, Hungarian scholarship played a rather balancing role all along. Characterised by dialogue and successful mediation, it strove to take a middle-of-the-road stance within the Socialist orbit. It took the professional requirements of scholarship rather seriously within the bounds of feasibility at varying times. Under restrictive conditions and despite ideological dictates, it filled a fermentative role. All in all, it made both (1) the sociological approach and (2) the historico-comparative perspective accepted in the Socialist world by transcending legal positivism and especially “Socialist normativism”, on the one hand, and by breaking out from domestic/regional self-seclusion, on the other. Moreover, it (3) introduced the ontological perspective, built upon the epistemological perspective, exclusive till then, and thereby it could attribute ontic significance to the self-explanation and self-representation of different legal cultures, usually treated as having merely an ideological importance; and (4) by developing a law and modernisation theory, it could address Central and Eastern Europe in a responsive way. The overview starting by assessing the legacy in the end of WWII concludes in a parallel characterisation of the state of scholarship and its achievements throughout the countries concerned by the end of the Soviet rule. Through and owing to all this, the Hungarian pattern offered a relatively near-to-optimum alternative, a kind of optimality in its solutions and responses.
The fate of Marxism in the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies as the former’s extension owing to post-WWII occupation was from the beginning sealed by Bolshevism, that is, the politico-ideological domination and use of the scholarly domain as well, made to self-close in a merely justificatory role. There may have been attempts at opening, even if only conceivable within—i.e. preserving at the same time—this framework function. In the present conspectus, the limiting positions are occupied by the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic, completed by after-1968 Czechoslovakia, as well as Yugoslavia and pre-1968 Czechoslovakia, representing the substitute-to-religion dogmatic side, exclusively politically motivated in the former and subordinated to a humanising tendency in the latter case, on the one hand, and Poland, dedicated to a purely analytical approach, in which Marxism has simply no relevance, on the other. Hungary, treated in an earlier paper by the author, was in-between, taking Marxism seriously but mostly as a methodology, and thereby able to foster live debates. All that notwithstanding, there has been quite a few progressive moves also in Romania and Bulgaria in this specific academic field. Turning topoi of the discussions were, chronologically but recurrent transubstantiatedly, the exclusivity of Vyshinsky’s socialist normativism, the consequences ensuing from the law’s superstructural nature, the discontinuity vs. continuity of law in historical development, and, in the background, the dilemma of the ontological/epistemological understanding of Marxism, the latter standing for a rigid Leninist reducibility of law to its material substratum as the product of sheer reflection, and the former enabling to develop the law’s relative autonomy as in Lukács’ posthumous ontology. On the final analysis, all these forced paths made a whole region’s efforts to be belated as compared to international developments, the fact notwithstanding those outstanding achievements were born especially on the fields of legal ontology and sociology, as well as the legal methodology and particularly that of the comparison of laws.
By the fall of Communism, also the past of Central and Eastern Europe is mostly hold eradicated, albeit it cannot but steadily survive in sublated mentality. On the field of l aw, this is expressed by the continuity of text-centrism in approach to law, with the law’s application following the law’s letters in a quasi-mechanical way. Consequently, what used to be legal nihilism in the Socialist regime has turned into the law’s textual fetishism in the meantime. This is equal to saying that facing the dilemma of weighing between apparently contradictory ideals within the same Rule of Law, justice has in fact been sacrificed to the certainty in/of the law in the practical working of the judiciary. Especially, constitutional adjudication mostly works for the extension of individual rights while the state as the individuals’ community is usually blocked in responding challenges in an operative manner. Situation in Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Baltic Republics, as well as Croatia is surveyed through a series of case studies in order to show degrees and variations of worsening. Softening the law by activating juridical inventiveness was used to be pressed on the region during her preparation to accession, a practice that has now been counteracted by stiffening hard law anew. In either case, on the last resort, phase-lag of juridical mentality in the region may have been at stake, preserved at the stage what Western Europe could develop into when reconstruction after the end of WWII started. For post-war West’s new joiners in approach and methodology — like (1) natural law considerations; (2) balancing among interests through assessing them in light of general principles and clauses, either of the law or implied by its underlying legal culture; as well as (3) constitutionalisation of issues — have remained mostly esoteric ideas, alien in mass to the region in question. The damage this condition may cause by cumulation is an added burden on the popular receptivity of catch-words heralded, among other ideals, by the Rule of Law.
A scale of globalisation is witnessed in the present case study as exemplified by (1) the transformation of the role of precedents; (2) the multicultural and multifactorial search for a common solution instead of any law-based administration of justice; (3) dissolving definition by and conclusion from the law in the name of a legal socio-positivist approach; accompanied with (4) some new prerogatives acquired by courts through a) unfolding statutory provisions through principles in judicial actualisation, (b) constitutionalisation of issues, as well as c) the Supreme Court imposing upon the nation as its supreme moral authority. In both cases, the main point is to re-consider the law's normative material in a way somewhat released from nationally positivated self-restriction when searching for a kind of trans-national cultural community. By gradually eliminating the law's substantivity, legal self-identity is mostly preserved in a rather procedural sense.
Nations of Central and Eastern Europe in the near past have all faced the same dilemma: how can they manage international encouragement to adopt atlantic patterns in promise of ready-made routes with immediate success, in a way also promoting the paths of organic development, relying on own resources and potentialities that can only be gained from tradition? Or, otherwise speaking, is it feasible at all to rush forward by rapidly learning all the responses others elaborated elsewhere at a past time? Or are they expected themselves to become Sisyphus bearing his own way, at the price of suffering and bitter disillusionment? The question was not raised by each country individually in the region as not much time was left for pondering in the rapid drift of events. Anyhow, cost-free solutions adopted from without may easily lead to adverse results, far away from expectations for the time being. The principles of free market, democracy and parliamentarism-with rule of law and human rights in the background-are usually believed to offer a kind of panacea curing the basic ills in the contemporary world. Generalised experience notwithstanding, social science has to be given the chance to record-if found so-that the same staff may not work at some places where it has just recently been transplanted as it is used to work amidst its natural surrounding in the western hemisphera, not with the same cost/benefit ratio at the least. For that reason, scholarship in Central and Eastern Europe is growingly aware of the fact that what it can provide is by far not marginal feedback but the very first testing and teasing proof on social embeddedness of some ideas and ideals, deservedly fundamental for the atlantic world. Realistically speaking, not even western social development is separable from the economic reserves of the development actually run. Or, operation of any societal complexity requires resources in both social organisation and material production.
Since the waning of the world concept offered by classical physics, law is seen as embodied less by material objects any longer than in a specific way of thinking. Consequently, the normativist perspective of legal positivism is also getting replaced by the comprehension of law in context of culture and tradition.In its own context, any of the terms of 'system', 'family' or 'culture' can be applied independently from each other but it is to be noted that 'tradition' is at the same time both a part and a given path of culture. In legal thought, concrete and generalising (abstract) ways of thinking are equally recoursed to, just as types which search for a solution either in the case's terms in its entirety or in the exclusive bounds of the given normative conceptual framework. It is only Western law that has become differentiated out of the rest, when individualism advanced and thinking in term of subjective rights grew into a dominant pattern, contrasted to our primitive (albeit surviving) approach to law which also expects, in addition to external conformity, the realisation of the law's internal ethos based on own initiative. English law, however, has revealed its face only gradually, as it has factual decisions made through an only-processually-arranged laic (jury) process while it has bound the declaration of what the law is to such facts of the cases among which no logical relationship can be established. In Civil Law, the treatment of adjudication as argumentation, and in Common Law, as practical reasoning, led the judicial process into a sphere only smoothly controllable by logic. Jewish and Islamic laws accept contradictory arguments from the outset. As to Indian and Far-Eastern cultures, they reject even the underlying questionto be raised. This way, in legal problem-solving the assessment of the merits of the caseandthe recourse to a reductive procedure can complement one another on the basis of some compromise. Institutionalisation itself is, as it channels the legal problem-solving to givenpaths, a function of a previously formed idea of order, of a given mentality. Our legaltheorising today is built mostly separatedly either on the classification and interpretation of facts or on the re-conventionalisation of the philosophical generalisation of concepts, with little interaction between the two types of approaches and research attitudes. Therefore, in order to encourage debate and commensurability, it is important that notions of law, at least tacitly assumed to substantiate their choices of subject, are clarified.
The core of codification is invariably the idea of a system in the law's composition and structuring, doctrinal reflection and conceptual building up, including judicial reference to codal definitions as well. Or, codification is (1) an exclusive body of law (2) implementing unity in its regulatory field (3) with logical coherence and consequentiality. The dream of a common European codification penetrates into the very heart of the law, presupposing the unification of all the intellectuality and underlying approach that has ever distinguished Civil Law and Common Law. The more the advancement of the European unification progresses, the more inverse the assessment of European codification becomes, making us its past trends, values and regulatory techniques reconsidered. That is, as if we on the Continent had not so much become statal national units unified by a sequence of national laws but, being too conceited of our most promising collective heritage within the transitory phase of an infantile disorder, became rather fragmented in national isolation from one another, which now comes eventually to a final end.