When non-legal professionals act as legal intermediaries and influence social change by Jérôme Pélisse
Édité le 6 Février 2020
Prof. Jérôme Pélisse of Sciences Po visits the Amsterdam Law School for a ACT Lecture.
Legal intermediation is an emerging theoretical concept developed to grasp the importance of the process and actors who contribute to legal endogenization, in particular in the field of economic activities and work governed by various public regulations. This communication proposes to extend the analytical category of legal intermediary to all actors who, even if they are not legal professionals, deal on a daily basis with legal categories and provisions. In order to deepen our understanding of these actors and their contribution to how organizations frame legality, this paper investigates four examples of legal intermediaries who are not legal professionals. Based on field surveys conducted over the past 15 years in France on employment policy, industrial relations, occupational health and safety regulation, and forensic economics, this study makes three contributions.
First, the cases show the diversity of legal intermediaries and their growing reflexive roles in our complex economies. The paper suggests the increasing complexity and ambiguity of legal rules coupled with the shift from government to governance provide legal intermediaries greater opportunities to influence law and social change. Second, while they are not legal professionals per se, to different degrees, these legal intermediaries assume roles similar to those of legal professionals such as legislators, judges, lawyers, inspectors, cops, and even clerks. Finally, depending on their level of legitimacy and power, the study shows how legal intermediaries take part in the process of legal endogenization and facilitate or inhibit social change. The paper analyzes more broadly how they frame ordinary legality, by filtering law through non-legal logics emanating from various organizational fields.