Searching the Historical Origins of Legal Indicators: Revisiting the Stanford Studies in Law and Development (SLADE)

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 24 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Pedro FORTES, FGV, Brazil
Rolando GARCIA MIRON, Stanford Law School, USA
Diego GIL MCCAWLEY, Stanford Law School, USA
Legal indicators are currently an important part of legal discourse and perform various evaluative functions regarding the quality of rule of law, trustworthiness of remedies in a legal system, and levels of governmental corruption. Additionally, both public and private actors take very seriously contemporary indicators, such as the Rule of Law Index, Doing Business Index, and Global Rights Index. This phenomenon was termed 'mathematical turn' in legal reasoning (Restrepo-Amariles, 2015) and has impacted domestic jurisdictions in their statistical analyses of justice systems and control of judicial efficiency (Fortes, 2015). Legal indicators are nowadays an important tool to understand the law in society. In this sense, searching legal indicators is essential for our better understanding of the world and how to improve our lives in the future. This paper will contribute to the literature on legal indicators by revisiting the Stanford Studies in Law and Development (SLADE). Following the insight that legal culture may impact legal development within different societies (Friedman, 1975), a group of scholars decided to collect comprehensive empirical data on a number of different jurisdictions with the goal of comparing and contrasting different features of their legal systems by means of legal indicators. Unfortunately, because of lack of funding, such project was never entirely completed, but nonetheless their initiative was very important in generating insights on the potential creation of legal indicators and academic lessons on law and socio-economic development (Merryman, 2000).