Friday, February 28, 2020

Positivist legal theory offers a coherant account of law as a system Essay

Positivist legal theory offers a coherant account of law as a system of legal rules. This allows legal questions to be categorically distinguished from question - Essay Example This allows clear distinguishing of matters of law from matters involving morality, where a higher divine mandate may be invoked. Questions involving morality may create disparities and difficulty in a precise application of the law, since individual and group moral beliefs may differ from place to place and may not allow for the uniform application of the law. However, by clearly specifying that the law and morality are separate questions, the positivist theory allows legal questions to be clearly distinguished from questions involving morality. The salient aspect of the positivist legal theory that was put forward by Hart, is that it offers a comprehensive set of rules, both direct rules as well as secondary meta rules that help to specify how the primary rules will operate. According to Austin, â€Å"a law may be defined as a rule laid down for the guidance of an intelligent being by an intelligent being having power over him.†3 Austin also supports Bentham’s views4 in that every legal norm needs to constitute a threat that is backed up by a sanction; therefore coercion is an essential feature of the law. However, when there is too much of rigid adherence to the rules, the scope for judicial interpretation may be seen to be limited. Therefore Hart fiercely opposes the predictive interpretation of law based upon its coercive aspect on the grounds that such interpretation â€Å"obscures the fact that, where rules exist, deviations from them are not merely grounds for prediction that hostile reactions will follow.... but are also a reason or justification for such reaction and for applying the sanctions.†5 The law viewed as a set of rules therefore also involves the social learning aspect, which Raz has emphasized, applying a test of behavioral guidance to determine that a person could have come to accept the rules without actually deciding to do so, or questioning the original justification for the

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