Chapter

Legal Systems as Systems of Laws

Joseph Raz

in The Concept of a Legal System

Second edition

Published in print July 1980 | ISBN: 9780198253631
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681417 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198253631.003.0008
Legal Systems as Systems of Laws

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All the philosophers hitherto considered are united on one crucial issue; they all think that every law is a norm. This chapter puts forward the view that, though normativity is an important characteristic of the law, some laws are not norms; or, more precisely, that, given the minimum content and minimum complexity of legal systems, and given an acceptable set of principles of individuation, there are in any legal system some laws which are not norms. The case for such laws rests on the general requirements of avoiding repetition and of not deviating without sufficient reason from ordinary discourse, and, most important of all, the case for such laws rests on the requirements of simplicity and clarity in the exposition of important connections between various parts of a legal system.

Keywords: legal system; normativity; law; legal theory

Chapter.  7193 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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