World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Eugen Ehrlich

Eugen Ehrlich (September 14, 1862 – May 2, 1922) was an Austrian legal scholar and sociologist of law. He is widely regarded as one of the primary founders of the modern field of sociology of law.

Contents

  • Biography 1
  • Career 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5

Biography

Ehrlich was born in Czernowitz (now Chernivtsi in the Bukovina, at that time a province of the Austro-Hungarian empire but now in Ukraine). Ehrlich studied law in Vienna, where he taught and practised as a lawyer before returning to Czernowitz to teach at the university there, a bastion of Germanic culture at the eastern edge of the Empire.

Ehrlich remained there for the rest of his teaching career and was Rector of the University in 1906-7. During the turmoil of World War I, when Czernowitz was occupied several times by Russian forces, he moved to Switzerland. After the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the ceding of the Bukovina to Romania, Ehrlich planned to return to Czernowitz, where he would have been required to teach in Romanian, but he died of diabetes in Vienna, Austria in 1922.

Career

Ehrlich's experience of the Bukovina's legal culture, where Austrian law and sharply contrasting local custom seemed to co-exist, caused him to question the hierarchical notions of law propounded by such theorists as Hans Kelsen. Ehrlich noted that legal theories that recognized law only as a sum of statutes and judgments gave an inadequate view of the legal reality of a community. He drew a distinction between norms of decision and social norms or norms of conduct.[1] The latter actually govern the life of a society and, under certain conditions, can justifiably be regarded in popular consciousness, if not necessarily by lawyers, as law. For example, commercial usage and custom may develop and be recognized and respected by courts of law and other agencies as having normative force and legal significance.

The point Ehrlich sought to make was that the "living law" which regulates social life may be quite different from the norms for decision applied by courts, and may sometimes attract far greater cultural authority which lawyers cannot safely ignore. Norms for decision regulate only those disputes that are brought before a judicial or other tribunal. Living law is a framework for the routine structuring of social relationships. Its source is in the many different kinds of social associations in which people co-exist. Its essence is not dispute and litigation, but peace and co-operation. What counts as law depends on what kind of authority exists to give it legal significance among those it is supposed to regulate.

Ehrlich's teaching is that the sources of law's authority are plural and insofar as some of those sources are political and others cultural they may conflict. But not all the norms of social associations should be thought of as 'law', in Ehrlich's view. Legal norms (understood sociologically, rather than juristically) are typically distinguished from merely moral or customary ones by powerful feelings of revulsion which typically attach to breach of them. They are, thus, regarded as socially fundamental. In addition, legal norms concern certain kinds of relationships, transactions and circumstances which he described as 'facts of the law' - specially important topics or considerations for social regulation.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Ehrlich, E. ([1913] 2001). Fundamental Principles of the Sociology of Law. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick.

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.