The Generality of Law

Forthcoming in Luís Duarte d'Almeida, James Edwards and Andrea Dolcetti, eds., Reading HLA Hart's 'The Concept of Law' (Hart Publishing 2013)

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 41/2012

17 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2012 Last revised: 31 Jan 2014

Date Written: November 9, 2013

Abstract

I outline the major ways in which law is necessarily general, starting from Hart’s account (in Chapter 2 of The Concept of Law), but pointing out aspects of generality in law that his essay on generality did not mention. I then explain the roles and the importance of particular norms in a legal system, arguing that particularity, too, is a necessary feature of a legal system. I discuss what ‘necessary’ means in these claims. It is a popular idea that legal theorists should not try to identify necessary features of law; I argue that the popular idea is a mistake. Finally, I argue that Hart should have been more willing to pass value judgments about law. We can get further with Hart’s own task – the elucidation task – if we say what is good – and bad – about law.

Keywords: HLA Hart, rule of law, necessary features of law

Suggested Citation

Endicott, Timothy A.O., The Generality of Law (November 9, 2013). Forthcoming in Luís Duarte d'Almeida, James Edwards and Andrea Dolcetti, eds., Reading HLA Hart's 'The Concept of Law' (Hart Publishing 2013); Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 41/2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2086630

Timothy A.O. Endicott (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

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