Jusletter IT

Challenging the «cause-in-fact» / «cause-in-law» dichotomy

  • Author: Rui Soares Pereira
  • Category: Short Articles
  • Region: Portugal
  • Field of law: Legal Theory
  • Collection: Q-Justice 2011
  • Citation: Rui Soares Pereira, Challenging the «cause-in-fact» / «cause-in-law» dichotomy, in: Jusletter IT 29 June 2011
This article seeks, on one hand, to discuss the relevance of the fact/law distinction to the causal inquiry in law and, on the other hand, to discuss how can be sustained the fact causality/legal causality distinction and if it is necessary to give greater importance to one or another of these elements.


  • 1. Introduction. Framing the problem
  • 2. Recapturing thequaestio facti/quaestio iurisdistinction?
  • 3. Meaning and extent of the «cause-in-fact» / «cause-in-law» distinction
  • 3.1. Civil Law countries
  • 3.2. Common Law countries
  • 4. Holistic view of causality/deepening normativity?
  • 4.1. Reviewing and suggesting a few steps further
  • 4.2. Not transposing the traditional view and solution for thequaestio facti/quaestio iurisdistinction into the realm of causality
  • 4.2.1. The collapse of the fact/value dichotomy
  • 4.2.2. The nonsense of the traditional fact/law dichotomy
  • 4.2.3. Some gains for causality
  • 4.3. Seeing factual causation not (only) as a factual question
  • 4.4. Accounting all judgments about causality as normative
  • 5. Conclusions
  • 6. Reference
  • 7. Acknowledgement

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