Utilizing Systems Theory Insights and Reflexive Law to Negotiate the “Collision between… Un-connecting Worlds” in Family Law

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
Tristan Cummings Teaching and Research Fellow at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, UK and PhD Student at Merton College, Oxford, UK,

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This article defends an analytical framework based on systems theory, reflexive law, and Teubner’s regulatory trilemma. J v B exemplifies the numerous overlapping social relations, and forms a case study on the relationship between the State, community, and minority religious individuals, and on how this relationship can break down from the systems theoretical perspective. The article uses this case as a testing ground for a modified systems theoretical approach, treating this conflict between family law and religion as a regulatory problem. Although it centers on English family law, the article should be read as a piece of normative legal theory of general application. In the final section, it explores reflexive secularity and how this may apply in cases where law and religion interact, such as J v B.

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