Legal indicators, global law and legal pluralism: an introduction


The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law

mars 2015, vol. 47, n°1, pp.9-21

Départements : Droit et fiscalité

Mots clés : Mathematical turn, Global law, Indicators, Management

This article explores the development of legal metrics by focusing on the links between legal indicators, global law and legal pluralism. In particular, it addresses the question of the performative role that legal indicators convey in a situation of legal pluralism in global law. First, I argue that indicators are not only a set of socio-legal research methods conducted periodically and systematically with the aim of describing the evolution of a socio-legal reality over time. From a pluralistic perspective, indicators are also devices factually constraining the behaviour of individuals and institutions at different geographical scales. I show that as legal indicators become entrenched in managerial modes of governance, they adopt the role of performance measures. As such, they bridge the factual, normative and behavioural dimensions of social normativity. They rely on data gathering, benchmarking and auditing practices to attempt framing legally relevant behaviour. Second, I argue that legal indicators are triggering a mathematical turn in legal thinking, and so transforming the analytical dimension of legal analysis. The mathematical reasoning underpinning indicators increasingly attempts to supersede, in practice, linguistic and conceptual modes of legal reasoning in the mission of constructing legal concepts, relating them to one another and giving them sense in a specific context. In brief, this article attempts to show that legal indicators are introducing to the legal field a set of practices which are central to any contemporary approach to public and private management, transforming en passant, the way we experience, see and think about law in the context of globalisation