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 considers two principal sources of doubt concerning the legal character of international law and, with them, the steps which theorists have taken to meet these doubts. Both forms of doubt arise from an adverse comparison of international law with municipal law, which is taken as the clear, standard example of what law is. The first has its roots deep in the conception of law as fundamentally a matter of orders backed by threats and contrasts the character of the rules of international law with those of municipal law. The second form of doubt springs from the obscure belief that states are fundamentally incapable of being the subjects of legal obligation, and contrasts the character of the subjects of international law with those of municipal law.
H. L. A. Hart
H. L. A. Hart
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 relations between law and morals. It analyses what lies between Natural Law and Legal Positivism. It considers, in the form of five truisms, the salient characteristics of human nature upon which the minimum content of Natural Law rests. These truisms are: human vulnerability, approximate equality, limited altruism, limited resources, and limited understanding and strength of will. The chapter concludes by examining six forms of the claim that there is some further way in which law must conform to morals beyond that which has been exhibited as the minimum content of Natural Law.
Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. International Law is both an introduction to the subject and a critical consideration of its central themes and debates. The opening chapters of the volume explain how international law underpins the international political and economic system by establishing the basic principle of the independence of States, and their right to choose their own political, economic, and cultural systems. Subsequent chapters then focus on considerations that limit national freedom of choice (e.g. human rights, the interconnected global economy, the environment). Through the organizing concepts of territory, sovereignty, and jurisdiction the text shows how international law seeks to achieve an established set of principles according to which the power to make and enforce policies is distributed among States.
This chapter begins by addressing the question: what is a crime? Most modern definitions fall into two categories, the moral and the procedural. Moral definitions are based on the claim that there is or should be an intrinsic quality shared by all acts criminalized by the state. Procedural definitions argue that crimes are such because criminal law recognizes public wrongs as violations of rights or duties owed to the whole community. The chapter covers the role of criminal law; the statistics of criminal behaviour; the ‘principles’ of criminal law; proposals for a Criminal Code; conduct that should be criminalized; culpability; the victim in criminal law; the criminal process; criminal law and the Human Rights Act 1998; critical criminal law; feminist legal thought; punishment; and sentencing.