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H.L.A. Hart, Second Edition$
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Neil MacCormick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804756785

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804756785.001.0001

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The Legal Order II: Secondary Rules

The Legal Order II: Secondary Rules

(p.130) Chapter Ten The Legal Order II: Secondary Rules
H.L.A. Hart, Second Edition
Stanford University Press

According to H. L. A. Hart, “rules of obligation” are the primary or ground-floor element of legal order. The systemic quality of law is reflected in the fact that primary rules of obligation can be and are in fact often supplemented by “secondary rules” which are logically interrelated with primary rules. The distinction between rules of obligation and power-conferring rules appears to be identical with the distinction between rules regulating juristic acts and rules regulating natural acts. Hart also argues that the essence of every legal system lies in its “rule of recognition,” which relates to the way judges must exercise their powers. His explanation of the systemic quality of mature legal systems depends in large part on his elaboration of the interrelationship between secondary rules and primary rules or standards of conduct. This chapter examines Hart's theory of legal order and his concept of secondary rules, judicial role, and judicial duty. It also considers powers of adjudication and legislation based on a simplified analytical model of a feudal order.

Keywords:   H. L. A. Hart, rules of obligation, legal order, secondary rules, primary rules, rule of recognition, judicial role, judicial duty, legislation, adjudication

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