Mikhail Antonov1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 16 Soyuza Pechatnikov Str., Saint Petersburg, 190008, Russian Federation

Way and Perspectives of Eugen Ehrlich's Legal Conception

2012. No. 4. P. 39–50 [issue contents]

Antonov Michail - assistant professor, Department of Theory and History of Law, Faculty of Law, Saint Petersburg Campus ofNational Research University Higher School of Economics, PhD (law). E-mail: mantonov@hse.ru
Address: Promyshlennaya St., 17, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 198099

Thе paper describes the landmarks in the life and work of Eugen Ehrlich (1862–1922), the outstanding Austrian legal thinker, founder of sociology of law. The author stresses the importance of Ehrlich’s scientific project for the further development of the sociology of law, reveals the key stages in the evolution of Ehrlich’s theory and gives a short account of the problems which this theory deals with. A special emphasis is made on the connection of state and law in the perspective of sociological jurisprudence and the role of the  sociology of law in the issues of administration of law. Eugen Ehrlich known primarily as a founder of the sociology of law as an academic discipline is usually associated with his magnum opusFundamental Principles of the Sociology of Law. At the same time, the work published in 1913 was a result of a many year research of the scholar. Hence, to understand Ehrlich’s theory, it is necessary to take into account all the major works which promoted to shaping up the concept of the sociology of law. Another important area is to study the biography of the scholar with the landmarks of life being covered in the article. Another important problem discussed in the paper is the balance of judicial discretion of legislative clauses and the results of empirical research when formulating individual norms which serve as a basis to make judgements. The sociology of law allows finding a specific rule counterbalancing specific interests in a case as to the total balance of interests protected by legal order. For Ehrlich, this method is a pledge of fairness at a legal proceeding as a social and history quest provides a judge with a wider perspective of social interests – not only those which meet in an argument but those which the judge decided to protect in certain circumstances or those which the judge would protect if he/she were a legislator. Hence, the judge is encouraged to make a fair judgment which - as Ehrlich thought - could be ensured only in the case of revealing and studying all the interests. Thus, the major significance of the sociology of law conception is in justifying the results of empirical research in legal processes to create a scientific guideline to interpret positive law for a legal professional.

Citation: Antonov Valerevich Mikhail (2012) Put' i perspektivy pravovogo ucheniia Oigena Erlikha [Way and Perspectives of Eugen Ehrlich's Legal Conception] Pravo. Zhurnal Vysshei shkoly ekonomiki, 4, pp. 39-50 (in Russian)
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