Zoltán Fleck, born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1965. Ph.D. from Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest. Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology of Law, Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest.
Magyar Fellow (1 February 2004 – 30 June 2004)
LEGAL STABILITY AND CHANGE: THE ROLE OF LAWYERS
The perspectives of the original research plan widened considerably during the course of my work at NIAS. The possibilities offered by NIAS, allowed me to form a much more detailed theoretical foundation which served as a solid base for my work. The transformation of the legal system is an ongoing social process in all countries but this causes particular tensions in new democracies. I have worked out a historical background of the task of legal professionalism, because I consider that a historical viewpoint could enrich my study and deepen the understanding of such sociological problems as what are the roles of lawyers during complex social transformations. In this respect, and compared to my original intentions, my work unavoidably concentrated strongly on the theoretical and historical sides. After summarizing the institutional peculiarities and political relevance of such questions as the independence of the judiciary and the place of the court system, my studies focused on the personal, human background: the active role and responsibilities of the legal professionals. I briefly reviewed the classical theories of professionalism and institutionalism both of which are connected to the theoretical issue of actor versus structure, which is one of the oldest tensions discussed in the social sciences. Following these theoretical and historical endeavours, I wrote one article on the worldwide expansion of the judicial power and its causes, while the authority of judges lies at the centre of my whole topic. Another article is about the efficiency or limits of law, as the opposite side of the same question.