The Georgetown Law Lab supports a broad range of research programs.
Core Research Areas
A central research focus is in "experimental jurisprudence," or experimental philosophy of law.
This approach, which the lab understands as continuous with some aims of traditional jurisprudence, seeks to contribute data that clarifies important legal concepts.
For example, we study how people make judgments about what is "reasonable," or what was done "intentionally."
What is the "ordinary meaning" of contract terms or statutory provisions, or the "original public meaning" of the Constitution?
Increasingly, these questions are theorized as involving an "ordinary person's" understanding of the relevant language. Empirical methods can provide insight into what legal texts communicate to an ordinary person.
Does law have a universal "essence", or does it differ across cultures?
"Reasonableness" standards appear in diverse legal jurisdictions--are those standards understood in fundamentally the same way across all these different jurisdictions?
We address these questions in a collaboration with the "Experimental Jurisprudence Cross Cultural Study Swap," a research collaborative across Brazil, Colombia, Germany, India, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the U.S.
Health Law & Bioethics
An important research focus on health law and bioethics addresses questions like:
Are certain types of requests in an advance directives more likely to be followed?
Does tort law disincentivize physicians from providing "personalized" or precision-medicine treatments?