COGNITIVE CLASSIFICATION OF LEGAL PRINCIPLES A NEW APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL LEGAL TRAINING

Turgut CANKOREL
2008 Ankara Law Review  
There is an uneasy relationship between the rigid classification of legal doctrines and the increasing market demand for adaptable legal thinking. To help reconcile this stress point, this article proposes placing more emphasis on "legal principles" as a tool in modern legal training. First, it shows the "portable" quality of legal principles by focusing on their common presence across doctrines, jurisdictions and legal professions. Second, it draws on the "cognitive theory of expertise" in
more » ... f expertise" in order to show that lawyers think by "chunking" their knowledge at various levels of abstraction, and that each "legal principle" falls somewhere along this continuum of chunking. As a result, legal principles can have their own classification system, similar to existing doctrinal classifications but more practical in today's competitive world due to their "portable" nature. ÖZ Hukuk doktrinlerinin katı sınıflandırması ile modern küresel piyasada talep edilen uyarlanabilir hukuksal düşünce arasında gergin bir ilişki bulunmaktadır. Bahse konu çelişkiyi gidermek amacıyla bu makalede, bir modern hukuk eğitim aracı olarak "hukuk ilkeleri" üzerinde daha fazla durulması önerilmektedir. Bu bağlamda ilk olarak hukuk 154 ilkelerinin doktrin, yargı yeri ve meslek gözetilmeksizin uygulanılabilirliği ve dolayısıyla bu ilkelerin "taşınabilirlik" özelliği öne çıkarılmaktadır. İkinci olarak, "kognitif uzmanlık teorisi"ne dayanarak, avukatların değişik derinliklerdeki bilgilerini bir nevi "harmanlama" yöntemine dayandırarak kullandıklarını ve aslında her bir hukuk ilkesinin bu süreç içinde belli bir "harmanlama" noktasına denk geldiği önerilmektedir. Sonuç olarak, hukuk ilkelerinin "harmanlama" teorisi çerçevesinde kendilerine ait bir sınıflandırma sistemine sahip olabileceği, hatta bu hukuk ilkelerinin "taşınabilirlik" özellikleri sebebiyle mevcut doktrin sınıflandırmasından daha pragmatik bir nitelikte olabileceği savunulmaktadır. Anahtar Kelimeler: Kognitif teori, hukukta uzmanlık, sınıflandırma, hukuk yöntemi, uluslararası hukuk eğitimi, hukuk ilkeleri. Ankara Law Review Vol. 5 No. 2 156 law). This theory posits that experts think at more abstract levels than novices, and that they reach such high levels of abstraction by "chunking" together various pieces of pre-existing knowledge. For each domain, those individual pieces are different. Chess players "chunk" board configurations while musicians "chunk" musical notes. Since cognitive theory has not studied legal thinking as a domain of expertise, it is unclear what we "chunk" as we become expert lawyers. This article proposes that we "chunk" legal principles, and thus proposes a classification of legal principles to make our "chunking" easier. This pragmatic proposal is labeled as "cognitive classification" in this article. Why are legal principles more suitable for "cognitive classification" than legal doctrines? It is because they are portable, abstract and teachable. First, they transcend doctrinal, jurisdictional and professional boundaries. Their portability affords a user of legal principles a more adaptable crafta vital quality in the modern legal market. 2 Second, they facilitate legal analysis because of their abstract quality. An expert in command of these abstractions analyzes legal problems more efficiently than a novice who takes concrete and inefficient steps. 3 Third, legal principles are easy to teach because they are prone to internal organization within their abstract system. 4 Legal principles can be made more cognitively accessible to students by an intelligible taxonomy in line with the cognitive processes of expertise. This article will illustrate each quality (portable, abstract, teachable) by studying three core legal principles in Section V below. 5 2 See e.g., David S. Clark, Transnational Legal Practice: The Need for Global Law Schools, 46 AM. J. COMP. L. 261 (1998) (arguing that the growing demand for global lawyers necessitates a more global approach toward education in law schools across the world). 3 Legal systems have evolved, at least intellectually, by achieving leaps in abstraction. For example under common law, the shift from formal writs (eg. assumpsit) to general obligations (eg. contract) was a significant leap in abstraction, with all its attendant practical benefits. Similarly under civil law, the abstractions achieved by Roman law vis-à-vis preexisting legal systems were significant. This article suggests that by placing more emphasis on abstract legal principles, we can achieve still further progress in the law. 4 It has been shown in other disciplines that abstract organization is a preferred method of education. See e.g., Pat Langley, Concrete and Abstract Models
doi:10.1501/lawrev_0000000055 fatcat:3qthwrze2jca7ly4yrivo3k6ly