Humility as a necessary virtue in common-law decision making

Jurisprudence 14 (4):443-461 (2023)
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Abstract

Humility holds a modest but important place among the judicial virtues. But in spite of its growing popularity, it does not yet have a place on the ‘central judicial virtues’ lists. This paper provides an argument that judicial humility, especially institutional judicial humility, should be considered a necessary judicial virtue at least in common-law jurisdictions. This is because it is a necessary ingredient in precedent-based decisions that are fully justified from the point of view of the law and of political morality. Further, while it is sufficient that individual judges make decisions that a humble judge would have made, the judicial community must in fact be humble in order to produce fully justified common-law decisions – humility is therefore necessary as a community-virtue.

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Author's Profile

Katharina Stevens
University of Lethbridge

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References found in this work

Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse & Glen Pettigrove - 2022 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The virtue of judicial humility.Amalia Amaya - 2018 - Jurisprudence 9 (1):97-107.
Setting Precedents Without Making Norms?Katharina Stevens - 2020 - Law and Philosophy 39 (6):577-616.
Judges of character.Suzanna Sherry - 2007 - In Colin Patrick Farrelly & Lawrence Solum (eds.), Virtue jurisprudence. Palgrave-Macmillan.

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