The Concept of Legal Competence

The IVR Encyclopeadia of Jurisprudence, Legal Theory, and Philosophy of Law, May 2005

4 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2006

Abstract

In everyday language the term 'competence' has at least two different meanings: 'competence' can mean proficiency or authorization. A person can be a competent decision maker in the sense that as a rule he makes good and right decisions, but he can also be competent in the sense that he has the authority to make certain kinds of decision. 'Competence' understood as authorization is a normative concept, in the sense that a person has competence by virtue of a norm and that the exercise of competence changes a person's normative position. My concern here is of course with competence in the sense of authorization. I suggest the following definition of the concept of legal competence: A person, p, has the competence to change a legal position, LP, if, and only if, there is an action, a, and a situation, S, such that if p in S performs a, and thus goes about it in the right way, p will, through a , change LP.

Keywords: Competence, power, validity, legal positions

Suggested Citation

Spaak, Torben, The Concept of Legal Competence. The IVR Encyclopeadia of Jurisprudence, Legal Theory, and Philosophy of Law, May 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=923531

Torben Spaak (Contact Author)

Stockholm University ( email )

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

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