1st Edition

Complexity Theory and Law Mapping an Emergent Jurisprudence

Edited By Jamie Murray, Thomas Webb, Steven Wheatley Copyright 2019
    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    This collection of essays explores the different ways the insights from complexity theory can be applied to law. Complexity theory – a variant of systems theory – views law as an emergent, complex, self-organising system comprised of an interactive network of actors and systems that operate with no overall guiding hand, giving rise to complex, collective behaviour in law communications and actions. Addressing such issues as the unpredictability of legal systems, the ability of legal systems to adapt to changes in society, the importance of context, and the nature of law, the essays look to the implications of a complexity theory analysis for the study of public policy and administrative law, international law and human rights, regulatory practices in business and finance, and the practice of law and legal ethics. These are areas where law, which craves certainty, encounters unending, irresolvable complexity. This collection shows the many ways complexity theory thinking can reshape and clarify our understanding of the various problems relating to the theory and practice of law.

    Table of Contents


    Section I – Law’s Complexity

    Jamie Murray, Thomas E. Webb and Steven Wheatley, Encountering Law’s Complexity

    JB Ruhl and Daniel M. Katz, Mapping Law’s Complexity with "Legal Maps"

    Section II – Complexity and the State: Public Law and Policy

    Neville Harris, Complexity: Knowing It, Measuring It, Assessing It

    Thomas E. Webb, Asylum and Complexity: The Vulnerable Identity of Law as a Complex System

    Section III – Complexity Beyond the State: Human Rights and International Law

    Steven Wheatley, Explaining Change in the United Nations System: The Curious Status of Security Council Resolution 80 (1950)

    Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis, The "Consensus Approach" of the ECtHR as a Rational Response to Complexity

    Anna Marie Brennan, Prospects for Prosecuting Non-State Armed Groups under International Criminal Law: Perspectives from Complexity Theory

    Section IV Complexity and Business and Finance Regulation

    Mark Chinen, Governing Complexity

    Michael Leach, Complex Regulatory Space and Banking

    Jamie Murray, Regulating for ecological resilience: A new Agenda for Financial Regulation

    Section V – Complexity and the Ethics of Law and Legal Practice

    Lucy Finchett-Maddock, Nonlinearity, Autonomy and Resistant Law

    Minka Woermann, Complexity and the Normativity of Law

    Julian Webb, Regulating the Practise of Practice: On Agency and Entropy in Legal Ethics


    Jamie Murray is Senior Lecturer in Law at Liverpool Hope University.

    Thomas E. Webb is Lecturer in Law at the University of Lancaster.

    Steven Wheatley is Professor of International Law at the University of Lancaster.