Professor Dr. J. B. Ruhl of Vanderbilt University and Professor Dr. Daniel Martin Katz of Michigan State University and the ReInvent Law Laboratory, presented a paper entitled How Complex is the Law, and How Complex Should It Be?, at SEAL XV: Conference of the Society for Evolutionary Analysis in Law, 4-5 April 2014, at the University of Illinois College of Law, in Champaign, Illinois, USA.
Can we measure the complexity of law (and if so how and what would we do with that knowledge)? Legal scholars have begun to employ the science of complex adaptive systems, also known as complexity science, to probe these kinds of descriptive and normative questions about the legal system. While this work is illuminating, for the most part, legal scholars have skipped the hard part — developing quantitative metrics and methods for measuring and assessing law’s complexity. This paper explores the empirical and normative dimensions of legal complexity at a depth not previously undertaken in legal scholarship — including identifying useful metrics and methods for studying legal complexity.