(f)Lex avionica; How soft law serves as an instrumental mediator between professional norms and the hard law regulation of European civil aviation maintenance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The regulation of safety in civil aviation in Europe has become subject to a process of juridification. The role of law in the pro-active perspective of European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) governance, requires understanding how hard law and soft law interact. The rationality of regulatory systems can be regarded as the normative core from which different normative claims (norms) are deduced depending on the conditions applying to particular domains. Safety surrounding aviation professionals’ work practices is one such condition where the influential ‘knowledge society’ of safety science focuses on risk and human error in aviation. This article addresses the safety scholarship behind occurrence reporting and the ‘just culture’ concept which have arguably shaped the content and form of current civil aviation regulation in Europe. The article points to the flexible utilization of hard and soft law in aviation which innovatively upholds the market based core rationality of the European Union.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law (excluding Law and Society)


  • Flexibility, Juridification, Just culture, Norms, Soft law
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-63
Number of pages10
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch