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Legitimate Expectations, Legal Transitions, and Wide Reflective Equilibrium

Green, F; (2017) Legitimate Expectations, Legal Transitions, and Wide Reflective Equilibrium. Moral Philosophy and Politics , 4 (2) pp. 177-205. 10.1515/mopp-2016-0029. Green open access

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Abstract

Recent scholarly attention to 'legitimate expectations' and their role in legal transitions has yielded widely varying principles for distinguishing between legitimate and non-legitimate expectations. This article suggests that methodological reflection may facilitate substantive progress in the debate. Specifically, it proposes and defends the use of a wide reflective equilibrium methodology for constructing, justifying and critiquing theories of legitimate expectations and other kinds of normative theories about legal transitions. The methodology involves three levels of analysis - normative principles, their theoretical antecedents, and considered judgements about their implications in specific cases - and iteration between these three levels in an effort to ensure coherence. The payoffs from applying this methodology to the legitimate expectations debate are illustrated through a discussion of examples from the existing literature. Some proposed innovations to the methodology, including the incorporation of insights from the ideal/non-ideal theory debate, are likely to be of wider interest to political theorists.

Type: Article
Title: Legitimate Expectations, Legal Transitions, and Wide Reflective Equilibrium
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1515/mopp-2016-0029
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1515/mopp-2016-0029
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137489
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