Value Of Legal Formalism

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What is the value, if any, of legal formalism?

Formalism is a self determining system that states: to reach the most fitting conclusion, judges must look to the existing bodies of law and engage in a purely mechanical deduction to produce single correct outcomes. However, the impracticality of this system deems the value of formalism void as the principle doesn 't always fit the facts.

Formalists strongly believe that the answers are already present within the law. They believe judges must look to existing bodies of law with limited judicial discretion to produce the correct conclusion. It is also viewed that there is no need to consider external non-legal factors, such as the judges own moral beliefs or the current political climate and
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Herman Pritchett continued throughout the 19th century and its grip finally broke, through the efforts of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Benjamin N. Cardozo and the legal realists. The legal realists main desire was to discover how judicial decisions were reached in reality, and in pursuing this, they criticised the value of formalism and stated that in actuality, every answer to every case is not already present within the law. For example, in Dolan v Corby when the judge conflated the Family Law Act 1996 when considering whether to make an occupation order, he had exercised his discretion and therefore the consequent order could not be quashed. This shows that not all answers to cases are already present within the law, as here the judges used their discretion to overrule these legislative provisions.The realists rebelled against the mechanical model of courts and judges, arguing instead that legal decisions were a “mixture of law, politics and policy” and that judges’ decisions were influenced by their backgrounds, training, personality and ideology. The legal realists in political science cared about judicial behaviour and judicial decision making, not just about legal structures and
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