Lotteries within Legal Frameworks

Neil Duxbury

in Random Justice

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198268253
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683466 | DOI:
Lotteries within Legal Frameworks

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This chapter outlines a fairly modest and distinctly provisional case for greater reliance on lotteries within specific (primarily legal) contexts. It seems reasonable to ask why anybody should opt for normativity. This question might be prompted by two reservations, one general and one quite specific. The general reservation concerns the very point of normative legal theory. The use of randomization in legal contexts may have positive effects on people's incentives and might also, on occasions, turn out to be cost-efficient and just. One of the reasons we tend to be resistant to resorting to chance or sortition for social or legal decision-making is that we very often consider the lottery to be a device which is both pure and inflexible: we are prone to assuming, that is, that the lottery must only be capable of producing equiprobable outcomes and that, as a decision-making mechanism, it must operate in isolation. Neither assumption is warranted. Lotteries do not have to generate equiprobable outcomes. They may be usefully combined with other methods of allocation and adjudication.

Keywords: lotteries; normativity; legal theory; randomization; sortition; legal decision-making; equiprobable outcomes; allocation; adjudication; chance

Chapter.  18659 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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