A Critical Review of Hart’s Scathing Attack on Austin’S Command Theory
14 Pages Posted: 8 May 2022
Date Written: April 17, 2022
Hart rebukes Austin’s command theory of law and does not consider it a legal theory. Hart’s intense criticism, especially in chapter two of his book The Concept of Law is too severe. This work explores Hart’s methodology in criticizing Austin’s theory. Whether Hart is justified in its vilification of the command theory? Whether Hart has rightly described the command theory as the gunman theory? Whether Hart has attacked Austin’s theory or has castigated things not said by Austin? Whether the command theory was really as bad as described by Hart or was Hart very unfair in his criticism of Austin? Whether Hart made mistakes while criticizing Austin? Can Austin be defended against Hart’s criticism? And, finally, how Hart got influenced by some of the concepts in Austin’s theory that he had criticized earlier.
Keywords: Hart, Austin, Jurisprudence, command, sanction, law, sovereign, gunman theory, orders backed by threats, coercive orders
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