Conclusion—Imagining Law’s Community

Roger Cotterrell

in Law's Community

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780198264903
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682858 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Socio-Legal Studies

Conclusion—Imagining Law’s Community

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This final chapter draws together some main themes that have arisen earlier in this book and presents them as different aspects of a single complex problem. The problem lies in a paradox — a package of unresolved tensions or contradictions — at the heart of law's character. One way of expressing this paradox is to say that law's political authority depends ultimately on a certain kind of moral authority; yet the extension of law's political authority has a seemingly inevitable tendency to weaken or deny this moral authority and hence, in an important sense, to undermine law itself. The difficulties of the paradox seem to bedevil attempts to characterise contemporary law's relationship with social values and to specify the general nature of legal authority. In the final sections of the chapter, an attempt is made to develop a particular conception of community as an element in legal theory, and to suggest why this concept is indispensable in addressing fundamental problems about the nature and tasks of legal regulation.

Keywords: law; community; political authority; moral authority; social values; legal authority; legal theory; legal regulation

Chapter.  8474 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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