[en] This short article on Peter Fitzpatrick’s conception of “responsive law” analyzes the ambiguous temporality that Fitzpatrick discerned in modern law. On the one hand, law makes the claim of being fully present and therefore already and completely contained in itself. This aspect of law reflects the law’s claim to “immanence,” that is, its claim of always being able to rely strictly on its own operational terms without having to take recourse to any consideration not already contained within itself. It is this aspect of law that renders the ideal of the “rule of law” feasible. On the other hand, the law’s claim to doing justice to every unique and therefore every new case also demands that it takes leave of that which is already settled within it. This aspect of law can be called its “imminence.” The imminence of the law concerns the reality that law always finds itself on the threshold of that which has not yet been said and must still be said. The article shows how Fitzpatrick relied on Freud’s concept of the totem to explain the “wondrous” unity of its immanence and imminence.
Metalaw, Roman law, history of law & comparative law