Legal Theory and Language

Christopher Hutton

in Language, Meaning and the Law

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780748633500
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671489 | DOI:
Legal Theory and Language

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This chapter offers a brief introduction to topics and approaches in legal theory and language. It offers a critical summary of the differences between natural law and legal positivism, describes in outline the formalist position as opposed to the realist, summarizes the idea of the rule of law in liberal ideology, and shows how this idea of the relative autonomy of the legal system and legal language comes under attack in radical approaches to law. It then looks at how the law and economics framework might deal with linguistic questions, and contrasts the different understanding of law and language in Luhmann and Habermas. The fundamental issue at stake is the notion of law's autonomy.

Keywords: Natural law; Legal positivism; Formalism; Realism; Critical Legal Studies; Critical Race Theory; Law and economics; Niklas Luhmann; Jürgen Habermas; Autonomy

Chapter.  9847 words. 

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning

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