This article presents the results of an empirical research, reflecting a general trend in flexible (liquid) law that stimulates higher responsibility, or margins of discretion, in decision-making processes. The results obtained show that the courts of first and second instance tend to cling to a more limited ‘local jurisprudence’ that has passed the test of the points of law laid down by the Court of Cassation. This implies that, when legal actors elaborate knowledge about social phenomena (a crucial stage in the process of ‘making law’), they bring the process of deformalisation, which induces reasoning on the ‘material dimension’ of cases, back to the institutional level, by referring to the Supreme Court interpretation of legal rules. In other words, the limited sample of cases analysed enabled the researchers to hypothesise that the weight of the social dimension is in fact absorbed by the ‘institutional’ level, through decisions which follow the Supreme Court jurisprudence, so that "once again, nothing replaces the law but the selfreformulation of the law".
Keywords: Decision-making - Criminal sentences - Jurisprudence - Sociology