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Justification under Authority

49 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2009  

John Gardner

University of Oxford

Date Written: February 18, 2009


In this paper I discuss and reply to Malcolm Thorburn's important article 'Justifications, Powers, and Authority', Yale Law Journal 117 (2008), 1070. My discussion raises a wide range of conceptual and doctrinal questions about Thorburn's account of justification defences, and about the theory of justfication defences more generally. The paper also trespasses on some broader questions about the nature of law and its relationship to morality.

Keywords: criminal law, defences, nature of law, legal positivism, consent, self-defence, arrest, rule of law

Suggested Citation

Gardner, John, Justification under Authority (February 18, 2009). Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 5/2009. Available at SSRN: or

John Gardner (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

All Souls College
High Street
Oxford, OX1 4AL
United Kingdom

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