Research Topic

Neurolaw: The Call for Adjusting Theory Based on Scientific Results

About this Research Topic

Over the course of the last decade, there has been an increasing number of neuroscientific findings casting a doubt on the legal system overall or on its components. However, despite these criticisms, it is hard to find a country that adjusted its common law or the civil law system in response to these criticisms. The main aim of this Research Topic is to highlight this inconsistency and to examine the ways to address the mismatch between the neuroscientific results and law.

Recent findings from the neuroscience research challenge traditional legal approaches to many subjects such as lack of responsibility due to mental incapacity, juvenile decision-making, the memory of the witnesses, and emotional harm, among others. A cross-disciplinary examination that would take into consideration the findings related to these subjects to actualize them in the legal system without the potential violation of human rights is needed to overcome the distance between science and law and to streamline underlying policies and practices.

The necessity to adjust neurolaw to scientific results spawns important ethical and social issues that need to be further examined. In particular, this adjustment is likely to have a great impact on the analysis of the amount and kind of punishment in criminal law. This adaptation may help to find a fair solution to particular cases in which the decision-making process is relevant.

Topics for contributions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Criminal responsibility and mental disorder defense;
- Prison inmates’ treatment;
- Neuroprediction of future rearrest;
- Credibility and reliability of the witnesses and experts;
- Vulnerability in the justice system;
- Mental or emotional harm;
- Juvenile criminal law, blameworthiness, and punishment;
- Free will and moral responsibility;
- Legal regulation of enhancements;
- Legal implications of artificial intelligence;
- Connections between neuroethics and neurolaw.

We welcome submissions addressing theoretical, methodological, or empirical issues related to these topics and others relevant to this topic. As part of this Research Topic, we aim to feature articles from multiple disciplines such as law, psychology, neuroscience, medicine, and philosophy. Cross-, inter-, and transdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome.

N.B. This Research Topic idea was co-developed with Dr. Nicolás Ezequiel Llamas, Dr. José Ángel Marinaro and Dr. Ezequiel Norberto Mercurio.


Keywords: Neurolaw, Legal System, Memory of the Witnesses, Emotional Harm, Decision-making Process, Criminal Responsibility, Neuroprediction, Blameworthiness, Free Will, Enhancements, Artificial Intelligence, Neuroethics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Over the course of the last decade, there has been an increasing number of neuroscientific findings casting a doubt on the legal system overall or on its components. However, despite these criticisms, it is hard to find a country that adjusted its common law or the civil law system in response to these criticisms. The main aim of this Research Topic is to highlight this inconsistency and to examine the ways to address the mismatch between the neuroscientific results and law.

Recent findings from the neuroscience research challenge traditional legal approaches to many subjects such as lack of responsibility due to mental incapacity, juvenile decision-making, the memory of the witnesses, and emotional harm, among others. A cross-disciplinary examination that would take into consideration the findings related to these subjects to actualize them in the legal system without the potential violation of human rights is needed to overcome the distance between science and law and to streamline underlying policies and practices.

The necessity to adjust neurolaw to scientific results spawns important ethical and social issues that need to be further examined. In particular, this adjustment is likely to have a great impact on the analysis of the amount and kind of punishment in criminal law. This adaptation may help to find a fair solution to particular cases in which the decision-making process is relevant.

Topics for contributions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Criminal responsibility and mental disorder defense;
- Prison inmates’ treatment;
- Neuroprediction of future rearrest;
- Credibility and reliability of the witnesses and experts;
- Vulnerability in the justice system;
- Mental or emotional harm;
- Juvenile criminal law, blameworthiness, and punishment;
- Free will and moral responsibility;
- Legal regulation of enhancements;
- Legal implications of artificial intelligence;
- Connections between neuroethics and neurolaw.

We welcome submissions addressing theoretical, methodological, or empirical issues related to these topics and others relevant to this topic. As part of this Research Topic, we aim to feature articles from multiple disciplines such as law, psychology, neuroscience, medicine, and philosophy. Cross-, inter-, and transdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome.

N.B. This Research Topic idea was co-developed with Dr. Nicolás Ezequiel Llamas, Dr. José Ángel Marinaro and Dr. Ezequiel Norberto Mercurio.


Keywords: Neurolaw, Legal System, Memory of the Witnesses, Emotional Harm, Decision-making Process, Criminal Responsibility, Neuroprediction, Blameworthiness, Free Will, Enhancements, Artificial Intelligence, Neuroethics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

18 March 2019 Abstract
26 August 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

18 March 2019 Abstract
26 August 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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