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Interpretation, Jurisdiction, and the Authority of Law

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 22/2007

APA Newsletter, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 14-19, Spring 2007

10 Pages Posted: 29 May 2007 Last revised: 20 Jul 2008

Timothy A.O. Endicott

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Abstract

People can be autonomous, if they are subject to authority. In particular, they can be autonomous if they are subject to the authority of law. I defend the first claim through a study of Joseph Raz's compelling account of authority; I claim that his work leads to the conclusion that autonomous judgment is needed to determine the jurisdiction of an authority, and to interpret its directives. I defend the second claim by arguing (contrary to remarks by Raz) that law does not claim unlimited jurisdiction, and need not claim unlimited scope for its directives. But the requirements of the rule of law create a standing risk that the law will not adequately recognize the autonomy of its subjects, because of its artificial techniques for controlling its own jurisdiction and for controlling the scope of its own directives.

Keywords: authority, autonomy, interpretation, jurisdiction, Joseph Raz, analytical jurisprudence

JEL Classification: K30, K31

Suggested Citation

Endicott, Timothy A.O., Interpretation, Jurisdiction, and the Authority of Law. Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 22/2007; APA Newsletter, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 14-19, Spring 2007 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=989551

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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