Complexity: knowing it, measuring it, assessing it

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


References to complexity in public discourse often present it as a pervasive and negative characteristic of regulatory and governance systems. This chapter is concerned with manifestations of complexity in law and governance. It views complexity as a largely empirical phenomenon and considers its features and how far measurement is possible. The chapter assesses the role of simplification as a policy response. In looking at the functioning of law-based systems, it focuses, in particular, on the key public law areas of social security and taxation, which have an impact on a majority of citizens, are acknowledged to be particularly complex areas of governance and are ones in respect of which simplification remains a policy goal. Another complex area that is highlighted is 'Brexit' – the process of UK withdrawal from the EU – and its surrounding legal context. The chapter also considers the relationship between complexity and rights.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComplexity Theory and Law
Subtitle of host publicationMapping an Emergent Jurisprudence
EditorsJamie Murray, Thomas Webb, Steven Wheatley
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781315158976
ISBN (Print)9780415786096
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2018


  • complexity
  • law
  • welfare
  • tax


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