Alf Ross on the Concept of a Legal Right

16 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2014

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2014


In this article, I discuss Alf Ross's claim that the concept of a legal right is best understood as a technical tool of presentation, which ties together a disjunction of operative facts and a conjunction of legal consequences, and that rights statements render the content of a number of legal norms in a convenient manner. I argue that while Ross's analysis is appealing, it is problematic in at least three respects. I also argue, however, that despite these difficulties Ross's analysis deserves our continued attention, because the fundamental idea — that the concept of a legal right must be understood functionally — is sound.

Suggested Citation

Spaak, Torben, Alf Ross on the Concept of a Legal Right (December 2014). Ratio Juris, Vol. 27, Issue 4, pp. 461-476, 2014, Available at SSRN: or

Torben Spaak (Contact Author)

Stockholm University ( email )

S-106 91 Stockholm
46 8 16 45 89 (Phone)
46 8 612 41 09 (Fax)

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