An empirico-legal analytical & design model for local smart energy systems: Applying the ‘ILTIAD’ model, combining the IAD-Framework with Institutional Legal Theory

Michiel A. Heldeweg*, Imke Lammers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
294 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents a new framework for the analysis and design of legal-governance settings for collective action challenges, particularly of local (smart) microgrids, with a focus on related local planning. The framework connects Ostrom’s IAD-Framework with Institutional Legal Theory (ILT), to foster proper understanding of both empirical and legal-prescriptive elements. This is relevant to state of affairs analyses, but also to design-oriented analysis towards institutional change of legal settings for local smart microgrid systems. The proposed framework connection (named ‘ILTIAD’) contributes to a proper empirico-legal understanding of existing and possible improvements in public-private arrangements relevant to bring about innovations of the said local microgrids. A three-step conceptual approach is presented. The first step is about relating local smart microgrids to the concept of a collective action and explaining the relevance of adding an ILT perspective to the IAD-framework. The second step is to frame the connection between IAD and ILT (as ILTIAD) with a view on relevant action situations. To this end, Ostrom’s ‘rules-in-use’ are connected to legal ‘rules-in-form’. This institutional rule-perspective is then aligned with action situations at Ostrom’s four analytical levels, considering that different legal institutions are relevant to the content of action situation rules. In the third step, the institutional rule-perspective is placed in the specific legal setting of an example for a Dutch Crown Decree on experiments for decentralized renewable energy projects. We demonstrate how the abstract ILTIAD-framework provides a lens to identify legal aspects as constraints and opportunities within action situations. Furthermore, we show from a design perspective how the framework can help identify gaps and conflicts when establishing and maintaining particular local smart microgrids. In doing so, we also connect to dynamic aspects of underlying transition justice concerns, following energy expansion versus energy democratisation frames. In conclusion the article reflects inter alia on some analytical and methodological aspects of ILTIAD as compared to the IAD-framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-506
Number of pages28
JournalInternational journal of the commons
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2019


  • institutional change
  • empirico-legal analysis
  • Common pool resources
  • local energy system
  • legal governance
  • rules-in-form & rules-in-use
  • heuristic model
  • design
  • microgrids


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