Chapter 9. Strategic manoeuvring in the case of the ‘Unworthy spouse’

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In this contribution I give an analysis of strategic manoeuvring in a legal context. I give an analysis of the argumentation in the justification of the decision by the Dutch Supreme Court in the famous case of the ‘Unworthy Spouse’ and I describe how the Supreme Court operates strategically within the space it has within the rules for the discussion in cassation to steer the outcome of the discussion in a particular direction. In my analysis of the discussion strategy I use the concept of strategic manoeuvring developed by van Eemeren (2010) and van Eemeren and Houtlosser (2006, 2007). Starting from this conception I show that the discussion strategy of the Supreme Court can be described as a consistent effort in the different stages of a critical discussion to steer the discussion in the desired direction within the boundaries of the rules for the discussion in cassation.


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