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LAW AS ONLY ONE OF MANY POLICY INSTRUMENTS

Yehezkel Dror (1970:554) discussed another additional limitation of law as an instrument of social change. He contended that

law by itself is only one component of a large set of policy instruments and usually cannot and is not used by itself. Therefore, focusing exclusive attention on law as a tool of directed social change is a case of tunnel vision, which lacks the minimum perspective necessary for making sense from the observed phenomena.

Thus, according to Dror, law is but one of many policy instruments that must be used in combination to produce some social change. Any change achieved by law will be more limited in the absence of other policies aimed at achieving the intended change.

However, the law is still often used as an instrument of change outside of the context of a broader policy-making framework. This is typically the situation in reform-oriented litigation, where the object is to alter a particular institutionalized practice. For example, the 1973 Supreme Court decision to overrule state abortion statutes was not carried out within a larger policy context, and yet it provided many women access to legal abortions that they did not have previously.

Although some reform litigation can have considerable impact, legislative and administrative reforms dealing with large social issues should ideally take place within a broader social policy-making framework (Dean, 2012). Such an approach would greatly enhance the efficacy of the law as an instrument of change. To this end, Dror (1970) advocated the establishment of interdisciplinary teams of lawyers, social scientists, and policy analysts to engage in relevant studies and prepare policy recommendations.

 
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