Cross-cultural research on legal principles co-authored by Niek Strohmaier
Are there cross-cultural principles of law?
This article addresses the long standing question in legal philosophy of “what is law?”. Which conditions are necessary and sufficient for something to count as a law or legal system? Fuller (1969) proposed that eight conditions need to be met, which he collectively called ‘the inner morality of law’. To add to this debate, people from 11 different countries are surveyed to test whether the general public endorses the procedural conditions that laws should adhere to in order to count as laws. The results show that people consistently believe that laws necessarily abide by a series of procedural principles as put forward by Fuller: they could not retroactively punish past conduct, be kept secret, or be incomprehensible to most, for instance. Yet, people also acknowledge that laws in practice violate these very principles.