This is a summary of a fictitious case created in Lon L Fuller, ‘The Case of the. Speluncean Explorers’ () 62(4) Harvard Law Review The case takes. 1 Lon L Fuller, `The Case of the Speluncean Explorers’ 2 See, eg, Jordi Ferrer Beltr n and Giovanni Battista Ratti (eds), The Logic of Legal Requirements. Abstract: Lon L. Fuller’s The Case of the Speluncean Explorers is a classic in jurisprudence. The case presents five judicial opinions which clash with each other.

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Archived from the original on Largely taking the form of a fictional judgment, it presents a legal philosophy puzzle to the reader and five possible solutions in the form of judicial opinions that are attributed to judges sitting on the fictional “Supreme Court of Newgarth” in the year Criticises Foster J’s approach The natural law under the posited “state of nature” prioritises freedom of contract above the right to life Purposive approach to statutory interpretation is difficult when there are multiple purposes here, retribution and rehabilitation Cannot decide case due to competing legal rationales and emotions.

The fourth opinion begins by excluding executive clemency and the morality of the defendants’ actions as relevant factors to the court’s deliberations.

Peter Suber, The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Nine New Opinions – PhilPapers

The laws of nature allowed to agree to sacrifice one person for the survival of the rest. It doesn’t tell you what to think, but illustrates the contending positions and lets you think for yourself. In determining that the convictions should be overturned, Justice Foster makes two main points. Above ground, substantial resources are spent to rescue them, with 10 workmen killed caze subsequent landslides near the blocked entrance.


The Case of the Speluncean Explorers

Describing a case of trapped travellers who are exploeers to cannibalize one of their team, it is used on courses in philosophy of law and Jurisprudence to show how their trial upon rescue touches on key concepts in philosophy and legal theory such as utilitarianism and naturalism.

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If their appeal to the Supreme Court of Newgarth fails, they face a mandatory death sentence. One of the cavers, Roger Whetmore, then asks on the cavers’ behalf if the cavers could survive 10 days longer “if they consumed the flesh of one of their number”.

The mandatory sentence for murder in Newgarth is death by hanging. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. One reason is to get beyond sloganeering about “judicial activism” and “activist judges”. Why read this book? They decide to engage in cannibalismand select one of their number to be killed and eaten so that the others may survive. Radio contact is subsequently lost. Wikipedia articles needing clarification from March Fuller first published in the Harvard Law Review in These combined objections lead Justice Tatting to reject Justice Foster’s reasoning as “intellectually unsound and approaching mere rationalization.

I believe something more is on trial in this case than the fate of these unfortunate explorers; that is the law of exploreers Commonwealth. The judge cites the case of Commonwealth v Valjean[b] in which starvation was held not to justify the theft of a loaf of bread, let alone homicide.

The Case of the Speluncean Explorers – Wikipedia

Progress Toward the Rule of Law in China. Peter Suber carefully and clearly introduces students to the main themes of Fuller’s article before introducing nine new opinions.


Strategies of Judicial Review. It will show you how judges with different moral and political beliefs interpret written law, how they use precedents, how they conceive the proper role of judges, how they conceive the relationship between law and morality, and how they defend their judicial practices against criticism.

Views Read Edit View history. George Washington Law Review. Each differs in its reasoning and on whether the survivors should be found guilty of breaching the law. Justice Keen recalls that earlier instances of judicial activism in Newgarth had ultimately led to civil warwhich established the supremacy of the legislature over the judiciary.

Indeterminacy of Legal Reasoning in Philosophy of Law. Explorwrs relevant statute provides caae “Whoever shall willfully take the life of another shall be punished by death”, offering no exceptions which would be relevant to the case.

A fifth judge, who is unable to reach a conclusion, recuses himself.

Defendants were in a “state of nature” so Newgarth’s normal laws did not apply to them; the laws of nature would allow them to agree to sacrifice one’s life to save the other four If the laws of Newgarth do apply, then a purposive approach must be taken to the statute. Twentieth-Century Statutory Interpretation in a Nutshell”.

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