Conceptual Tools for Legislators Part 2: Pathways through the World of Law

29 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2013

See all articles by Jaap Hage

Jaap Hage

Maastricht University - METRO Institute

Date Written: February 1, 2013


The main purpose of this article is to show a number of implications if legislation is seen as a way of building the world of law. The focus in this connection is on the ways in which the world of law relates to the rest of the World. The paper is structured as follows. It starts with distinguishing between two perspectives on legal rules, the ‘world of law’ perspective that is central in this paper, and the perspective according to which rules are tools in legal argumentation. Second the idea of a more or less separate world of law is elaborated by distinguishing between kinds of facts, by comparing the roles of causal laws and legal rules in structuring the World, and by studying how the different kinds of facts can influence each other. This leads to the third topic of this article, namely the issue how the world of law interfaces with the rest of the world, the ‘outside world’. The basic idea in this connection is that facts in the outside world are transformed by counts as rules into facts inside the world of law (‘input facts’) and that these input facts lead to other facts in the world of law, ending with so-called ‘output facts’ which lead human beings to bringing about changes in the outside world. The chain of facts within the world of law from input facts to output facts is called a ‘pathway through the world of law’. The conclusion formulates and briefly argues for the recommendation to legislators to pay attention to the ‘pathways through the world of law’ which they build by maintaining the set of legal rules.

Keywords: world of law, legal rule, dynamic rule, static rule, rule-based fact, counts-as-rule, input fact, output fact, intermediate fact, sanction, power, competence, duty, obligation, permission, prohibition, legal status, claim right, property right, human rights, pathways

Suggested Citation

Hage, Jaap, Conceptual Tools for Legislators Part 2: Pathways through the World of Law (February 1, 2013). Maastricht Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2013/6. Available at SSRN: or

Jaap Hage (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - METRO Institute ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD

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