The shifting meaning of legal certainty

Mark Fenwick, Stefan Wrbka

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of legal modernity, the principle of legal certainty – the idea that the law must be sufficiently clear to provide those subject to legal norms with the means to regulate their own conduct and to protect against the arbitrary exercise of public power – has operated as a foundational rule of law value. As such, legal certainty has played a vital role in determining the space of individual freedom and the scope of state power. In this way, the ideal of legal certainty has been central in stabilizing normative expectations and in providing a framework for social interaction, as well as defining individual freedom and political power in modern societies. Legal certainty has been pivotal to the project of political liberalism and the ideals and aspirations of political modernity. This chapter introduces the concept of legal certainty and introduces the idea that the meaning of legal certainty has shifted.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLegal Certainty in a Contemporary Context
Subtitle of host publicationPrivate and Criminal Law Perspectives
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9789811001147
ISBN (Print)9789811001123
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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