Giovanna Tieghi

«Certainty generally is an illusion and repose is not the destiny of man». The Law in the ongoing US “era of uncertaintyµ

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O.W. Holmes’ words have to be considered as the bearing axis to critically investigate the topic from a US perspective. The paper suggests that the complex and everlasting legal issue of legal certainty finds a unique settlement in the US system, due to the peculiar compromise between the combination of the variety of sources of law and the experimental, historical constitutional arrangements. The US constitutional legacy emphasized and responded to the ongoing importance of balancing abstract and related rules with real-life – i.e. legal practice –, giving justification to the Legal Indeterminacy perspective. The crucial process to reach that balance is therefore directly linked with the monitoring of institutional dynamics in their ability to embody the emerging role of the need to be able to co-exist with uncertainty (i.e. certainty vs flexibility). Current trends of theoretical and practical investigation are now involved in defining the updated dichotomy pluralism-interpretation given the contemporary public spirit – linguistic-centered oriented – aimed at strengthening the American sentiment of trust interplay. By questioning the principle of certainty in the light of the thesis of the American Legal Indeterminacy, some critical issues retrieve the human dimension of the law in the scenario of a contemporary democracy engaged in the Path of the Law well beyond the Western, formalist EU legal certainty approach.


  • certainty
  • indeterminacy
  • crisi
  • rule of law
  • drafting/interpretation


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