The impact of “empirical facts” on legal scholarship and legal research training

Hutchinson, Terry C. & Burns, Kylie (2009) The impact of “empirical facts” on legal scholarship and legal research training. The Law Teacher, 43(2), pp. 153-178.

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Lawyers have traditionally viewed law as a closed system, and doctrinal research has been the research methodology used most widely in the profession. This reflects traditional concepts of legal reasoning. There is a wealth of reliable and valid social science data available to lawyers and judges. Judges in fact often refer to general facts about the world, society, institutions and human behaviour (‘empirical facts’). Legal education needs to prepare our students for this broader legal context. This paper examines how ‘empirical facts’ are used in Australian and other common law courts. Specifically, the paper argues that there is a need for enhanced training in non-doctrinal research methodologies across the law school curriculum. This should encompass a broad introduction to social science methods, with more attention being paid to a cross-section of methodologies such as content analysis, comparative law and surveys that are best applied to law.

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ID Code: 30075
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: empirical facts, legal research training, legal research skills, factual reasoning, jurisprudence
DOI: 10.1080/03069400903004236
ISSN: 0306-9400
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > OTHER LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (189900) > Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified (189999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Routledge
Deposited On: 01 Feb 2010 00:40
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:43

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