Publication details

Legal concept of public order: A Case for Social Representations Approach



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Description In an ongoing project, we explore the use of social representations approach (Moscovici 1961/1976, 2008) in studying conceptualization in law. One of the concepts we explore is that of “public order”. Public order is a vague legal concept and as such it lacks legal definition and needs to be interpreted and re-interpreted in relation to context. While the interpretation of a vague legal concept is essentially in the hands of the judge making a decision, some legal concepts, such as that of “public order” have an inescapable link to social realities. In a recent case the Czech Supreme Administrative Court relied on the concept of public order when making a decision on gender indication in a person’s identification number. The court stated that for the personal identification number to bear a different than assigned-at-birth gender indication when the identified person has not yet undergone complete gender affirming surgery would be (among other reasons) contrary to public order. The argumentation leading to this conclusion shows clear argumentative as well as knowledge gaps when it comes to the steps taken to determine the content of the concept of public order, as the court practically entirely relied on personal insight of the judge making that decision. Using this research we discuss that to understand the vague legal concept of public order, law and legal academia must venture outside their traditional methodological boundaries and attempt to grasp the social complexities by any means available. Social representations approach, stemming from social psychology, offers excellent tools to do that, as social representations are essentially dynamic and open phenomena, transformed by context (Marková 2007).
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