Disputes, legal rules, and democracy

Christopher J. Peters

in A Matter of Dispute

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195387223
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894338 | DOI:
Disputes, legal rules, and democracy

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This chapter extends the analysis applied in Chapter 3 from a basic, bipartite, ex post model of dispute resolution to the context of prospective general legal rules. It first outlines the dispute-resolving benefits of statutes and other general rules: They can avoid disputes and make them easier to resolve when they arise. It then explains how democracy—a system of broadly participatory government subject to general elections and operating by majority rule—is a relatively competent and impartial way for generating prospective legal rules. Democracy promotes impartiality by atomizing the effects of partial decision-making into many equally weighted votes; it promotes competence by involving a wide spectrum of talents, experiences, viewpoints, and interests in decision making; and it promotes both competence and impartiality by allowing power to shift and issues to be revisited periodically. Democracy thus is a quintessentially legal method of making rules.

Keywords: legislation; rules; general rules; legal rules; statutes; democracy; majority rule; elections; participation; decision-making competence

Chapter.  16759 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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