"Judges should apply the law, not make it." That plea appears perennially in American politics. American legal scholars belittle it as a "simple-minded demand" that is "silly and misleading. It is not; it is what the public rightly expects from law. H.L.A. Hart, reminded U.S. jurists that "conventional legal thought in all countries conceives as the standard judicial function: the impartial application of determinant existing rules in the settlement of disputes."
This essay discusses the German method of judicial applying of law to facts. called, in German, the "Relationstechnik," that is, in English, literally "relationship technique." This essay shows how it helps make German civil justice work effectively and justly.
Guiding Litigation: Applying Law to Facts in Germany, forthcoming in Papers of Common Good Forum, The Boundaries of Litigation, Brookings Institution, Washington DC April 15, 2008. Webcast.