By the employment of law, modern societies have institutionalized procedures to manage decision-making problems under the condition of non-knowledge and uncertainty. Law can thus be regarded as a prototype of resilient structures. Yet, regarding the transformations of the Risk Society, the question needs to be raised whether law itself is also undergoing changes that threaten to diminish its "resilient reserves". Or are the very same transformations at the same time generating new types of law that are capable of managing these new challenges positively? Our research project is based on the hypothesis that new forms of structural self-limitations of law present new decision options as well as possibilities for their alignment.
We want to analyze this matter more thoroughly by looking at two selected case studies (related to chemistry and biomedicine) in the field of law dealing with risk conditions. Both fields have developed specific forms of self-commitment through law resulting in specific impacts on the decision makers. Our focus lies especially on the question whether the release of decision makers from institutional bindings leads to the emergence of new options or, on the contrary, to overtaxing and nontransparent decision patterns.