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Agencies Class, Fall 1999

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: November 26, 1999
E-Mail Curran or Takata.

Doctrinal Accomodation

Definitional essay by
Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata
Part of Teaching Series
Copyright November 1999. "Fair Use" encouraged.

A doctrine in law is very much like a theory in sociology. It ties several related concepts together into a general statement of the area it covers.

On p. 7 of your text, Shuck defines legal doctrine as: "a complex mixture of constitutional, statutory, regulatory, and 'common law' principles that govern" the many aspects of societal relations covered by the law.

When Shuck speaks of a doctrinal change, as on p. 65, he means an alteration in some aspect of the legal apparatus, law, regulation, etc. that permits a change in the procedure. The change Shuck speaks of on p. 65 is the duty to enforce the statutory law. Whereas in most cases that is the President's job, modern administrative laws altered that doctrine to recgonize the need for agency enforcement of some regulations. This is one of the doctrinal areas in which we have recognized the need for professionals with some authority to take part in governance. But we do not yet have a clear sense of how our checks and balances will work at that level.

By "doctrinal accomodation" Shuck refers to the attempt by the courts and/or the agency to obtain consensus amongst those the regulations will affect, so that there will be minimal conflict. What that means is that, if the U.S. has some particular goal in mind, such as the "war on drugs," that goal will be duly considered in the doctrinal accomodation to produce maximum consensus in the realization of that goal.