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Social Governance by Law: Substantive Standards and Procedural Enforcement

Nagoya_Bruns GruppeThe group headed by Prof. Dr. Alexander Bruns (University of Freiburg) and Prof. Dr. Masabumi Suzuki (Nagoya University) is conducting a jurisprudential project titled “Social Governance by Law: Substantive Standards and Procedural Enforcement”. The research group will analyse and compare the Japanese and German legal culture with regard to the interplay between substantive standards and their procedural enforcement. In modern constitutional societies, legal frameworks influence and define social life. Depending on the respective political objectives, the behavior of citizens is influenced by means of preventive and reactive legal instruments. Examples for preventive legal instruments are prohibition and injunctions, while in reactive legal systems, damages, restitution and punishment are dominant instruments. Almost all modern legal systems combine both preventive and reactive legal instruments. The joint research group will analyse the legal cultures of both countries in their respective international settings within Europe and Asia within this framework.


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Abstract

With the social governance by law and the interplay between substantive legal standards and procedural enforcement the Joint Project Group addresses a topic of both outstanding academic and practical importance. The legal framework is an essential instrument of modern societies under the rule of law to define the standards for the social life of man. The way the governance by law works may vary with the legal system and culture. In the analysis of legal governance instruments the interplay between substantive standards and their procedural enforcement is of central importance. In the pursuit of certain political or social goals a legal system is basically faced with two options: the exertion of influence on the behaviour of its citizens by means of preventive instruments or reactive organization. Preventive instruments are, e.g., prohibition and injunction. Examples of forms of reaction are damages, restitution and punishment.
The relationship of preventive and reactive regulatory instruments is a key element for the analysis and understanding of a legal system. Practically all modern legal systems implement a combination of prevention and reaction. Prevention aims at anticipatory avoidance of unwelcome results, whereas reaction is designed to compensate and maybe deter. On the one hand, a strong emphasis on prevention has the advantage of more immediate governance and risk avoidance. On the other hand it can involve the danger of over-regulation and strangulation of creative innovation. Modern regulation is often based upon preventive governance by creating elective choices and setting incentives. A reduction of preventive regulatory structures in favour of a more reactive legal system gives leeway to freedom of action and flexibility in society that are of import for economic, societal, scientific and cultural capacity for development. By the same token, the cost of such deregulation can be a loss of primary protection of legally guaranteed rights with the individual being referred to compensatory reaction, for example in the form of damages. In this major field the Joint Project aims at comparative and international research with a focus on the Japanese and German legal cultures in their respective international settings, especially in reference to the European Union, the United States of America and Asia.