Transnational Legal Indicators in Legal Advice

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal 24 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Julian MCLACHLAN, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Transnational legal indicators are flourishing. They are developing prominently in business law fields such as finance and banking law, tax law, contract law and corporate law, but also in others such human rights, labour law, dispute resolution and judicial management. In each of these fields, indicators seek to assess the quality and performance of rules, institutions and processes, and make this data available to decision makers. They allow users to keep track of the evolution of legal systems or parts thereof over time, and to make business decisions on this basis. In parallel, legal counsels are increasingly expected to rely on empirical evidence when advising businesses. In this regard, despite their shortcomings, legal indicators constitute a readily available source of data which can be integrated in legal advice. However, although there is growing academic interest in the mechanics of legal indicators and their normative effects, little is known about the ways in which they could be exploited for real-life business decisions and for advising on such decisions. This paper aims to fill this void by providing evidence of how legal indicators are actually perceived and used by legal counsels. We will present the results of a wide survey of law firms and legal departments of businesses which is currently under way. Aside from shedding light on current uses and perceptions, analysis of these results will give useful insights about the effects of legal indicators in a wider normative environment but also about how these indicators may be improved upon in order to better respond to the needs of their users.