Chapter

The Identity of Legal Systems<sup>*</sup>

Joseph Raz

in The authority of law

Published in print August 1979 | ISBN: 9780198253457
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681400 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198253457.003.0005
The Identity of Legal Systems*

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Laws are part of the legal system and for a particular law to be considered a law, it must be part of American Law, French Law, or another legal system. Legal philosophers have persistently attempted to explain the rationale behind the concept of laws as part of legal systems. They have also attempted to evaluate the merits of this way of thinking and to make it more precise by explicating the features that account for the unity of legal systems. However, no theories among several other existing theories have been regarded as completely satisfactory. This chapter aims to explain and clarify the nature of the problem of the unity of legal systems. It aims not to address all the relevant questions surrounding legal systems but rather to formulate these questions into more precise and clear conception of the problems. To address the problem of the nature of the unity of legal systems, the chapter discusses the problem of the identity of legal systems wherein the individualization of laws, the aspect of the scope of a legal system, and the aspect of its continuity are clarified. It also discusses the relation of existence of law and its efficacy, the distinction between making a new law and the application of an existing one, and the relation of law and the state, to clarify further the questions surrounding the identity of legal systems.

Keywords: law; legal system; identity; state

Chapter.  10763 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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