This is a summary of a fictitious case created in Lon L Fuller, ‘The Case of the. Speluncean Explorers’ () 62(4) Harvard Law Review The case takes. 1 Lon L Fuller, `The Case of the Speluncean Explorers’ 2 See, eg, Jordi Ferrer Beltr n and Giovanni Battista Ratti (eds), The Logic of Legal Requirements. Abstract: Lon L. Fuller’s The Case of the Speluncean Explorers is a classic in jurisprudence. The case presents five judicial opinions which clash with each other.

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The judge counters potential objections of judicial activism by suggesting that although judges must obey the will of legislators, they must do so intelligently. The article offers five possible judicial responses.

Defendants were in a “state of nature” so Newgarth’s normal laws did not apply to them; the laws of nature would allow them to agree to sacrifice one’s life to save the other four If the laws of Newgarth do apply, then a purposive approach must be taken to the statute. Both the trial judge and members of the jury petition the Chief Executive to commute the sentence of the surviving spelunkers from the death penalty to six months’ imprisonment.

The Case of the Speluncean Explorers – Wikipedia

The survivors state that Whetmore had originally come up with the ideas of cannibalism and choosing the victim through random chance, offering a pair of dice in his possession. Realism about Legal Reasoning in Philosophy of Law.


Despite rejecting Justice Foster’s reasoning, Justice Xpeluncean cannot bring himself to reach the alternative view, that the defendants’ convictions should be upheld.

Justice Keen objects vehemently to Justice Foster’s purposive approach allowing the plain words of the law to be ignored. The first opinion is largely expository ; it is used to recount the facts of the case.

Statute is unambiguous and must be applied by judiciary notwithstanding personal views Clemency is a matter for the executivenot the judiciary Court should joint petition to Chief Executive for clemency.

Progress Toward the Rule of Law in China. Why read this book?

Peter Suber, The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Nine New Opinions – PhilPapers

Whetmore then asks if they should draw lots to select a person to be killed and eaten. George Washington Law Review.

One reason is to get beyond sloganeering about “judicial activism” and “activist judges”. In contrast to the other judges, Justice Handy prefers to use a “pragmatic, common-sense approach”, rather than abstract legal theories, to resolve the case.

The second opinion takes a different approach to the Chief Justice’s. Seattle University Law Review. This would allow justice to be achieved “without impairing either the letter or spirit of our statutes and without offering any encouragement for the disregard of law”.

Indeterminacy of Legal Reasoning in Philosophy of Law. As the Court’s decision is a tie, the original convictions are upheld and the men are sentenced to death. The others refuse to accept his change of mind, and cast the dice on his behalf.

Request removal from index. The medical experts reluctantly confirm this to be the case. In determining that the convictions should be overturned, Justice Foster makes two main points. It will show you how judges with different moral and political beliefs interpret written law, how they use precedents, how they conceive the proper role of judges, how spelumcean conceive the relationship between law and morality, and how they defend their judicial practices against criticism.


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The Case of the Speluncean Explorers

Justice Handy notes that apart from the ambivalent Justice Tatting, the other judges share the majority public opinion. Waldron’s Contribution to Political Positivism. The Right to Life: These opinions include perspectives from communitarian, feminist, multicultural, postmodern and economic theories of law, updating Fuller’s original case and bringing contemporary theories of law to bear on the five original opinions.

Although the wording of the statute is clear and unambiguous, there is intense public pressure for the men to avoid facing the death penalty. Firstly, the defendants were in a ” state of nature ” spelucean the time of the killing, so the laws of acse applied to them. Peter Suber carefully and clearly introduces students exolorers the main themes of Fuller’s article before introducing nine new opinions.

Five cave explorers became trapped inside a cave following a landslide.