Formalism (philosophy) - Law


Formalism is a school of thought in law and jurisprudence which assumes that the law is a system of rules that can determine the outcome of any case, without reference to external norms. For example, formalism animates the commonly heard criticism that "judges should apply the law, not make it." To formalism's rival, legal realism, this criticism is incoherent, because legal realism assumes that, at least in difficult cases, all applications of the law will require that a judge refer to external (i.e. non-legal) sources, such as the judge's conception of justice, or commercial norms.

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