Speluncean Explorers Further Proceedings

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Speluncean Explorers Further Proceedings

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Speluncean Explorers Further Proceedings

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Discuss about the Speluncean Explorers Further Proceedings.

The Case of the Speluncean Explorers is a fictitious case, which was created in the Harvard Law Review by Lon L Fuller. The case occurs in Commonwealth of Newgarth, which is again, a fictitious jurisdiction. This article contained five different judicial opinions, which explored the facts of the case from different legal viewpoints. In the following parts, these five views have been highlighted, along with the decision on which one is the most favorable. A discussion has also been carried on the manner in which the view taken above is aligned with the theoretical approaches to the law, if any.
In this case, a group of explorers were stuck in a cave due to landslide. Upon contacting the rescue team, they were informed that the rescue operation would take ten days. They would have ran out of food in ten days and so, they decided to draw a lottery and the loser of that, would be killed and eaten by others for survival. This was done and the others were rescued later. A guilty verdict was carried out by the Commonwealth of Newgarth whereby they were awarded the mandatory sentence of capital punishment.
The first judge, Chief Justice Truepenny affirmed the conviction, but at the same time, he recommended clemency. He believed that the statue was unambiguous and had to be applied by the judiciary, irrespective of their personal believes. For clemency, a join petition should be made to Chief Executive as it was an executive matter and not judiciary.
Justice Foster set aside the conviction stating that the defendants were in such state of nature where the laws of Commonwealth did not apply. And the law of nature would permit them to kill for their survival. And even when the natural law is not applied, for the purpose of criminal law, the application of self-defense would act as deterrence for this case.
Justice Tatting made no decision and withdrew from the case. He believed that the natural law in that state of nature had its priority over the freedom of contract over the right to life. He also highlighted the difficulty in statutory interpretation of the purposive approach, in presence of multiple purposes, for instance, rehabilitation and retribution.  And because of the competing legal rationales, in addition to the emotions, he refrained from making a decision.
The fourth view was that of Justice Keen who affirmed the convictions. He criticized the proposed appeal for clemency to Executive of Chief Justice Truepenny due to the applicability of doctrine of separation of powers. He stated that such appeal should be made in the capacity of being a private citizen only. He also highlighted the irrelevance of moral considerations in the application of statute.
The last judgment was given by Justice Handy and he also set aside the convictions. He argued that the public opinion and common sense had to be considered by the court. He highlighted that over 90% of the public wanted that these men should be released or be given a lesser punishment. He also made a statement regarding the rumors he heard. As per these rumors, Chief Executive was not gong the commute the sentence even with the presence of strong public opinion.
In my view, the ruling given by Justice Foster is the most appropriate one. He highlighted correctly how the individuals were under the natural law, instead of the Commonwealth law, due to the state of nature at the time of the killing. The natural law is aligned to the theory of survival of fittest and so, if for the survival of the others, one individual had to be scarified, it would be deemed as a correct approach.
There is one more reason for supporting the view presented by Justice Foster and it relates to the function approach taken by him, while assuming that the laws of Commonwealth of Newgarth were applicable over the individuals. Since the application of statue based on functional approach was the major purpose of deterrence, Foster concluded that if the convictions were upheld, the purpose of the statute would not be served, in the same manner as is present for self-defense.
The countered the possible objections of the judicial activism, by making a suggestion that even though the judges have to comply with will of the legislators, but that had to be done in an intelligent manner. He drew the analogy to the servants who were required to understand the instructions of their master by reading between the lines. He also highlighted that the strict literal compliance was not the actual intention in every case. This is the reason why the view of Foster was the most practical and applicable one.
Legal realism is one of the naturalistic approaches to the law. As per this theory, the theorists of this approach have to investigate the law based on value free method of the natural science, which is also known as the science of the real. As a result of their value free approach, they are opposed to the traditions of natural law. This view believes that the common law adjudication is inherently subjective system, which can, at times, produce inconsistent or incoherent results.
The view point put forward by Foster is somewhat inclined towards legal realism. This is because he highlighted that the natural law should be applicable in this case, instead of the commonwealth law, due to it producing inconsistent results, in form of punishing the individuals, for their survival needs. The approach of Foster was somewhat a value free approach and hence, his decision can be stated as being inclined to the approach of legal realism.
To sum up the entire decision, the hypothetical case of Speluncean Explorers presents the readers with a diversified view in the judgment of five judges. These judges have, as per their understanding, given different judgments. Out of these, in the view of the writer, the most appropriate one is that of Justice Foster. And this view is somewhat inclined to legal realism approach.
Suber, P, The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Nine New Opinions (Routledge, 2012)
Bjarup, J, ‘The Philosophy of Scandinavian Legal Realism’ (2005) 18(1) Ratio Juris.
Mertz, E, Ford, ‎WK and Matoesian, G, Translating the Social World for Law: Linguistic Tools for a New Legal Realism (Oxford University Press, 2016)
Easterbrook, FH, ‘The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Revisited’ (1999) 112 Harvard Law Review
Fuller, LL, ‘The Case Of The Speluncean Explorers’ (1949) 62(4) The Harvard Law Review Association.
D’Amato, A, ‘The Speluncean Explorers–Further Proceedings’ (2010) Faculty Working Papers. Paper 98
OlbrychtPalmer, ‘Summary of Fuller, ‘The Case of the Speluncean Explorers” (25 February 2015)
Eskridge Jr. WN, ‘The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: TwentiethCentury Statutory Interpretation in a Nutshell’ (1993) Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 3839.

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