While Critical Legal Studies’ most famous slogan

While Critical Legal Studies ‘ most celebrated motto is that “ All jurisprudence is political relations ” is justly seen as it’s most successful call to weaponries, the implicit in constructs of legal indefiniteness and consciousness-raising finally lead CLS to its premier place within the field of foreigner law.

The above statement contains two implicit in premises ; foremost, that Critical Legal Surveies can in fact be described as busying a premier place within the field of ‘outsider jurisprudence’ , and ; 2nd, that the constructs of ‘legal indeterminacy’ and ‘consciousness raising’ entirely are finally responsible for this placement.

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The construction of this paper shall therefore be as follows ; foremost, we shall analyze the definitions of ‘legal indeterminacy’ , ‘consciousness raising’ and ‘outsider jurisprudence’ ; 2nd, we shall analyze the relationship between the first two constructs and the latter to see if a belief in ‘legal indeterminacy’ and ‘consciousness raising’ needfully leads to a place which can be described as ‘outsider jurisprudence’ , and ; 3rd, we shall analyze the relationship between Critical Legal Studies’ most celebrated motto, viz. “All jurisprudence is politics” , and the theory of ‘outsider jurisprudence’ to see whether the above statement is right in disregarding this factor as besides being finally responsible for taking ‘CLS to its premier position’ within this field.

Specifying the constructs of the paper: ‘legal indeterminacy’ , ‘consciousness raising’ and ‘outsider jurisprudence’ .

Legal Indefiniteness:

Constructing upon the work of the legal realist motion, Critical Legal Studies argues that the jurisprudence is globally undetermined, i.e. that the result of any legal determination is non pre-determined by the content of the jurisprudence, which is based upon political orientation and is therefore profoundly inconsistent. As Altman ( 1986 ) p211 argues, the content of the jurisprudence itself reflects “ ideological battles among societal cabals in which viing constructs of justness, goodness, and societal and political life get compromised, truncated, vitiated, and adjusted, ” and it is this facet of the jurisprudence which gives rise to planetary indefiniteness: the bench can utilize these built-in incompatibilities to warrant a whole scope of different, and even contrary, outcomes, the pick of which is left wholly to themselves through their ain subjective ‘reason’ . As Farber and Sherry ( 1997 ) p33 note, “Reason is merely another codification word for the positions of the privileged. The Enlightenment itself simply replaced one socially constructed position of world with another, misidentifying power for cognition. There is naught but power.” As Ross ( 1998 ) p4 notes, this privileged place is non simply enjoyed by the bench, but besides the constabulary force, juries and prosecuting officers.

The Critical Legal Studies motion contends that such indefiniteness is inconsistent with any western-liberal constructs of legitimacy ; the function of the bench is to construe the jurisprudence, and to use it, but non to make it. Since the jurisprudence is basically inconsistent, the really differentiation between reading and creative activity becomes simply academic, and the legitimacy of the jurisprudence as a merchandise of a tri-partite system of independent histrions, viz. the executive, legislative and judiciary, must hence be called into inquiry.

Consciousness Elevation:

The modern motion of Critical Legal Studies has been described by one writer as the ‘new extra-legal truism’ ( Lobel, 2007, p938 ) , a motion which ‘rejects legal reform as a transformative way for societal change’ and seeks to convey this alone penetration steadfastly into the public sphere through a procedure of ‘consciousness-raising’ . One might therefore define ‘consciousness-raising, ’ in this context, as the ‘technique’ employed by the activist arm of the Critical Legal Studies motion, a cardinal undertaking of [ which ] is to uncloak the ideological nature of jurisprudence ( Sciaraffa, 1999 ) .

In many respects, the ‘conscious-raising’ of the extremist feminist motion provides a synonymous example. ‘Consciousness raising’ by its very definition is non concerned with peculiar techniques, but more with the terminal consequence of conveying certain issues into the public sphere. As Sarachild ( 1979 ) p145 writes, “ From the beginning of consciousness-raising… there has been no one method of raising consciousness. What truly count in consciousness-raising are non methods, but results.”

In Critical Legal Studies there are two chief statements which are sought to be promoted by consciousness-raising ; the first, pertains to the indefiniteness of the jurisprudence, as political orientation, in general, and ; the 2nd pertains to the built-in societal jobs which are caused by this indefiniteness.

Foreigner Jurisprudence:

As Himma ( 2004 ) notes, foreigner law refers to a organic structure of legal theory which asserts that the jurisprudence is “structured to advance the involvements of white males and to except females and individuals of color” .

As noted above, one of the primary purposes of the Critical Legal Studies motion is to raise public consciousness of the fact that the jurisprudence is undetermined and therefore capable to both patriarchate and racism, i.e. that the current legal system maintains, through indefiniteness, a patriarchate, under which its topics are discriminated against on the evidences of sex, ethnicity and coloring material.

Similar statements have been raised within the broader subject of criminology, where writers such as Bowling and Phillips ( 2001 ) have noted the built-in inclination towards institutionalized racism as a natural consequence of the limited human ecology of those employed within the privileged establishments ; for illustration, the bulk of Judgess in the UK are Oxbridge educated white middle-class males, and it is hence impractical to anticipate that their ain biass, which are more likely than non to aline in visible radiation of their similar socio-economic and political persuasions, will non somehow infiltrate their judicial logical thinking ( Faulkner, 2007 ) .

The relationship between ‘legal indeterminacy’ , ‘consciousness raising’ and ‘outsider jurisprudence’ :

Clearly, the three constructs of ‘legal indeterminacy’ , ‘consciousness raising’ and ‘outsider jurisprudence’ are to some extent interrelated. As we have seen, it is a primary contention of Critical Legal Studies that the jurisprudence is a system of inconsistent political orientations which is hence undetermined in its range and application. The constabulary, bench, prosecuting officers and juries can therefore efficaciously do new jurisprudence by construing these political orientations in conformity with their ain penchants and sentiments, which are besides capable to their ain biass. Critical Legal Studies hence maintains that the current legal system is non simply contrary to the western constructs of legal legitimacy, but, more worryingly, is capable to the female subjugation of patriarchate and the ethic/colour unfairnesss of institutionalised racism.

In decision, one must therefore agree with the first premise contained in statement at the top of this paper, viz. that Critical Legal Studies occupies a premier place in the field of foreigner law, and besides, to some extent, the 2nd, viz. that the constructs of legal indefiniteness and consciousness-raising which are finally responsible for this place.

Let us now, in the concluding subdivision of this paper, examine Critical Legal Studies’ most celebrated motto, “All jurisprudence is politics” , and buttocks to what extent this construct is besides finally responsible for the movement’s place in the field of foreigner law.

If “all jurisprudence is political relations, ” so must it besides be ‘structured to advance the involvements of white males and to except females and individuals of colour[ 1 ]’ ?

The motto “all jurisprudence is politics” refers to what we have already discussed in deepness, earlier in this paper, under the header of ‘legal indeterminacy’ ; viz. , the thought that jurisprudence is simply ideology capable of being applied subjectively by judicial histrions to conform with their ain personal biass and sentiments. This incompatibility is seen by CLS theoreticians to sabotage the philosophy of separation of powers between the bench and the legislative, therefore taking to the [ slightly overstate ] decision that “all jurisprudence is politics.”


In visible radiation of the above analysis, this paper is lead to the decision that the statement at the top of this paper is right in its averment that the implicit in constructs of legal indefiniteness and consciousness-raising finally lead CLS to its premier place within the field of foreigner law. This paper must besides hold with the averment made that the CLS motto that “ All jurisprudence is political relations ” is justly seen as it’s most successful call to weaponries. What this research worker does non quite comprehend is why the writer of this statement chose to get down with the word ‘while’ , a word which strongly implies that the content of the motto is in some manner contradictory to the rules of legal indefiniteness and consciousness elevation: In fact, the motto is non merely inline with these constructs but might be described as an illustration of how CLS has managed to raise consciousness of the very issue of legal indefiniteness, i.e. by explicating and printing a catchy motto which encapsulates the attendant deductions of this construct on legal legitimacy.


Farber and Sherry ( 1997 Lobel, 2007, p938 Sarachild ( 1979 ) Himma ( 2004 )

Altman ( 1986 ) . “ Legal Realism, Critical Legal Studies, and Dworkin, ” Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 15, no. 2.

Sarachild, Kathie ( 1973 ) : Consciousness-Raising: A Extremist Weapon. Re-printed in Feminist Revolution, pp. 144–150.

Farber and Sherry. ( 1997 ) . Beyond All Reason: the Radical Assault on Truth in American Law. New York: Oxford University Press

Lobel, ( 2007 ) . The Paradox of nonlegal Activism: Critical Legal Consciousness and Transformative Politics. Harvard Law Review.

Himma, Kenneth Einar ( 2004 ) , “Do Philosophy and Sociology Mix? A Non-essentialist Socio- legal Positivist Analysis of the Concept of Law” 24 Oxford Jo.

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Bowling and Phillips ( 2001 ) . Race, Crime and Criminal Justice. Longman Publishing.

Faulkner, ( 2007, forthcoming ) . Prospects for Progress in Penal Reform. Crime and Criminal Justice, inside informations T.B.C.

Ross ( 1996 ) . Just Narratives: How the Law Embodies Racism and Bias. Boston, Mass. : Beacon Press 1996.

Freeman, M. D. A. ( 2001 ) , Lloyd ‘s Introduction to Jurisprudence London: Sweet and

Maxwell, 7th edn.

Sciaraffa, ( 1999 ) . Legal Theory. 5: 201-219 Cambridge University Press. Available online at hypertext transfer protocol: //journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract ; jsessionid=1EE945DFAF611B8B6DBCB348B5634213.tomcat1? fromPage=online & A ; aid=48523

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