This is a summary of a fictitious case created in Lon L Fuller, ‘The Case of the. Speluncean Explorers’ () 62(4) Harvard Law Review The case takes. 1 Lon L Fuller, `The Case of the Speluncean Explorers’ 2 See, eg, Jordi Ferrer Beltr n and Giovanni Battista Ratti (eds), The Logic of Legal Requirements. Abstract: Lon L. Fuller’s The Case of the Speluncean Explorers is a classic in jurisprudence. The case presents five judicial opinions which clash with each other.

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I believe something more is on trial in this case than the fate of these unfortunate explorers; that is the law of our Commonwealth. They then consult with medical experts, who inform them that they are unlikely to survive to the rescue given the likelihood of starvation. Principal purpose of the criminal law — deterrence — would not be served by convicting the defendants. These opinions include perspectives from communitarian, feminist, multicultural, postmodern and economic theories of law, updating Fuller’s original case spelunceann bringing contemporary theories of law to bear on the five original opinions.

The Case of the Speluncean Explorers

They have limited food supplies and no sources of nutrition inside the cave. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Describing a case of trapped travellers who are forcd to cannibalize one of their team, it is used on courses in philosophy of law and Jurisprudence to show how their trial upon rescue touches on key concepts in philosophy and legal theory such as utilitarianism and naturalism.


The cavers are ultimately convicted of murder. Despite rejecting Justice Foster’s reasoning, Justice Tatting cannot bring himself to reach the alternative view, that the defendants’ convictions should be upheld.

One of the cavers, Roger Whetmore, then asks on the cavers’ behalf if the cavers could survive 10 days longer “if they consumed the flesh of one of their number”. The medical experts reluctantly confirm this to be the case. No one outside the cave is willing to answer this question.

Retrieved 15 January After the four survivors are tne, they are charged and found guilty of the murder of the fifth explorer. Democratic Jurisprudence and Judicial Review: The survivors state that Whetmore had originally come up with the ideas of cannibalism and explorets the victim through random chance, offering a pair of dice in his possession. One reason is to get beyond sloganeering about “judicial activism” and “activist judges”.

Peter Suber, The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Nine New Opinions – PhilPapers

Whetmore then asks if they should draw lots to select a person to be killed and eaten. The mandatory sentence for murder in Newgarth is death by hanging. The facts of the case are recounted in the first judicial opinion, which is given by Chief Justice Truepenny.

Douwe Korff – unknown. Justice Tatting disagrees strongly with Oc Foster’s rationales in overturning the convictions. Justice Handy notes that apart from the ambivalent Justice Tatting, the other judges share the majority public opinion.

The judge counters potential objections of judicial activism by suggesting that although judges must obey the will of legislators, they must do so intelligently. Waldron’s Contribution to Political Positivism.


Karl Olivecrona on Judicial Ex;lorers. Natural Law Theory in Philosophy of Law. The Case of the Speluncean Explorers. Request removal from index. Legal Realism in Philosophy of Law.

The Case of the Speluncean Explorers – Wikipedia

Progress Toward the Rule of Law in China. Following their rescue and recovery, the survivors are charged with the murder of Whetmore. Google Books no proxy legacy.

The book is an enjoyable and even-handed way to understand what the debate is about. James Allan – If their appeal to the Supreme Court of Newgarth fails, they face a mandatory death sentence. Simon Butt – unknown. Criticises Foster J’s approach The natural law under the posited “state of nature” prioritises freedom of contract above the right to life Purposive approach to statutory interpretation is difficult when there are multiple purposes here, retribution and rehabilitation Cannot decide case due to competing legal rationales and emotions.

Michal Bobek – unknown. Largely taking the form of a fictional judgment, it presents a legal philosophy puzzle to the reader and five possible solutions in the form of judicial opinions that are attributed to judges sitting on the fictional “Supreme Court of Newgarth” in the year Seattle University Law Review.

Torben Spaak – – Ratio Juris 22 4: Twentieth-Century Statutory Interpretation in a Nutshell”. Find it on Scholar.