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Optimization of principles, separation of powers and legal certainty: the conflict between principles and rules

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Rafael Scavone Bellem de Lima
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Direito (FD/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Luís Virgílio Afonso da Silva; Humberto Bergmann Ávila; Marcos Paulo Verissimo
Advisor: Luís Virgílio Afonso da Silva

Central in the debate on constitutional principles, the distinction of legal norms into principles and rules developed by Robert Alexy has been either defended by most of its adepts as necessary means to ensure the realization of constitutional rights through adjudication or criticized for concentrating power in the judiciary branch and reducing legal stability and reliance. This polarization is directly related to the comprehension of the resolution of the conflict between principles and rules. Described almost paradoxically as norms requiring something to be realized to the greatest extent possible, given the factual and legal possibilities at hand case of the principles and norms that entail definitions in the realm of what is factual and legally possible case of the rules , norms of these two kinds can prescribe different consequences to the same situation, which leads to a normative conflict with not only methodological but also practical implications. Depending on the argumentative burdens imposed by the method applied to solve this normative conflict, the scenario can be more prone to rule-based decisions, or, adversely, to overruling and principle-based decision-making, which is extremely relevant given that rules tend to stabilize expectations, thus promoting legal stability, and to protect the decision-making competence of state branches that are often more representative and instrumentally more capable of taking better decisions on the realization of constitutional principles than the judiciary bodies. For these functions to be fulfilled, the conflict between a principle and a rule cannot be solved neither by means of a balance between material principles nor by assuming that the principles realization is always constrained by the rule, since this constraint, often resulting in unwanted effects, ends being overridden in situations either described in extremely vague terms or not at all. Rules impose stronger constraints in decision-making and must bind the decision-maker to a higher extent than principles, as presented in the two methods admitted by the principles theory to decide on the prevalence of a rule or an opposing principle: the proportionality test and the balancing between formal and substantive principles. Guided by distinct argumentative standards, which can be clear and well defined in the proportionality test or abstract and complex when balancing involves formal and substantive principles in this case the standards might be more suitable to decision-making by permitting the consideration of other elements in addition to the extent of the realization of substantive principles , these methods tend to lead to more balanced solutions to the conflict between a principle and a rule, thus lessening the influence of the principles theory on the realization of constitutional rights through adjudication, as well as on the concentration of power in the judiciary bodies and on the decrease of legal stability and reliance (AU)

FAPESP's process: 09/04588-7 - Balancing, Constitutional Rights Optimization and Separation of Powers: the collision between ordinary rules and constitutional principles
Grantee:Rafael Scavone Bellem de Lima
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master