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The Concept of Law

The Concept of Law (3rd edn)

HLA Hart, Joseph Raz, and Penelope A. Bulloch
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date: 07 December 2023

VIII. Justice and Moralitylocked

VIII. Justice and Moralitylocked

  • H. L. A. HartH. L. A. Hartlate Professor of Jurisprudence, Principal of Brasenose College, and Fellow of University College, University of Oxford


Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter examines the claim that, between law and morality there is a connection which is in some sense ‘necessary’, and that it is this which deserves to be taken as central, in any attempt to analyse or elucidate the notion of law. The chapter attempts to separate and identify some long-entangled issues. The first of these issues concerns the distinction within the general sphere of morality of the specific idea of justice and the special features which account for its peculiarly intimate connection with law. The second concerns the characteristics which distinguish moral rules and principles not only from legal rules but from all other forms of social rule or standards of conduct.

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