[FRIAM] Legal scholars get with the program

Roger Critchlow rec at elf.org
Sat Apr 1 09:02:18 EDT 2017

In this week's Science, a Policy Forum paper:


Harnessing Legal Complexity, J B Ruhl, Daniel Martin Katz, Michael J
Bommarito II


Complexity science has spread from its origins in the physical sciences
into biological and social sciences (*1*). Increasingly, the social
sciences frame policy problems from the financial system to the food system
as complex adaptive systems (CAS) and urge policy-makers to design legal
solutions with CAS properties in mind. What is often poorly recognized in
these initiatives is that legal systems are also complex adaptive systems (
*2*). Just as it seems unwise to pursue regulatory measures while ignoring
known CAS properties of the systems targeted for regulation, so too might
failure to appreciate CAS qualities of legal systems yield policies founded
upon unrealistic assumptions. Despite a long empirical studies tradition in
law, there has been little use of complexity science. With few robust
empirical studies of legal systems as CAS, researchers are left to gesture
at seemingly evident assertions, with limited scientific support. We
outline a research agenda to help fill this knowledge gap and advance
practical applications.

The authors are from

   1. 1Vanderbilt University Law School, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.
   2. 2Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law,
   Chicago, IL 60661, USA.
   3. 3CodeX—The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, Stanford, CA 94305,

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