Warming up on “legal topics”

Beeing a complete newcomer in the area of law and legal issues listening to the brief talk of Doris Kiendl-Wendner in Week 2: Legal Cultures of the cope14 challenged my assumptions about legal systems and made me reconsider my opinion on law inforcement.

It has been very interesting to learn about the civil law tradition, historically originating by the Roman Empire, and the case law tradition, originating in England. My understnading of law so far, was the one of the civil law, and it is very new to me to think about law in a more subjective, or more individual way, like in the case law tradition (at least this is how I understand case law after following discussions and comments in the course so far). I was surprised in the beginning, because law was something very solid and not at all flexible in my mind so far, but it makes perfectly good sense to me, now that I got to think about it differently.

Suddently I thought of law inforcement in a new way:  If you are realy thirsty and someone gives you an icecream, just because everybody got an iecream, that doesn’t meet your needs nor is it making the system more fair for the others. Equality doesn’t mean “everyone gets exactly the same”, regalrdless of the specific situations and diverse individual needs.

My case in Austria in 2001 as briefly as I can get it: an austrian administrator at the university refused my application for further studies in the department of psychology. He explained to me that they only accept applications from persons who already have an admition for the specific study degree in their home countries. My problem was that I already had a bachelors degree from the UK, which was not my “home country” – I am greek and Greece would make my life very difficult in order to offer me a study place at that point. This law was adapted in the year 2005, when Austria decided to adopt the european system and encourage student mobility. By then I had graduated a masters degree in the UK, had returned to Austria and was working as a researcher in one of its universities.

If Austria had a case law tradition, how would my life look like now? ;-)

One Response to Warming up on “legal topics”

  1. Doris Kiendl-Wendner’s answer to my question during the hangout: legal systems in countries with both civil law and case law traditions can be equally flexible. In systems with civil law tradition the flexibility comes from differences in interpreting specific acts of law or legislations, and in systems with a case law tradition the flexibility comes from different interpretations of the case it self. It could also be possible that systems with a case law tradition show less flexibility, because judges are more bount from the type of judgments of similar cases in the past.

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