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Proportionality in Public Policy: Towards a Better Balance between Interests and Rights in Decision-Making (PIPP)
Start date: Aug 1, 2013, End date: Jul 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"This research project seeks to improve the quality and consistency of policy decisions by offering a novel approach to the study and practice of proportionality, one of the most important meta-constitutional principles for adjudicating among competing values.Although proportionality is well-established as a legal principle, its abstractness produces inconsistent application across judges and cases. Moreover, proportionality has been poorly integrated into policymaking, where it has the greatest potential to enhance the quality of democratic governance. We propose to shift scholarly attention away from its traditional focus on judicial review to the policy making process. Our aim is to develop procedural guidelines for deeper integration of Proportionality Analysis (PA) into the policy making process, in order to help policymakers make decisions that achieve a better balance between competing public interests and protected constitutional rights, and facilitate judicial review processes.Relying on choice architecture, we hypothesize that it is possible to reduce potential biases and cognitive errors and better protect human rights in policy choices by structuring policy analysis in ways that: (1) integrate elements of proportionality analysis; (2) offer a simultaneous process for the evaluation of alternatives and criteria; and (3) include normative guidelines. In the first stage of the project, we intend to employ comparative legal and policy research in six democracies, in order to better understand the challenges involved with integrating PA into the policymaking world. In the project's second stage, we will conduct a series of empirical behavioural experiments with policymakers in order to test the proposed procedural measures. The fruits of our research will serve legal scholars and students of public policy as well as policy-makers and judges throughout the democratic world."

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