Discipline: Law

Theory of law expounded by English lawyer John Austin (1790-1859).

Law consists of commands issued by a sovereign. It is judged law not because we ought to obey it or because it fulfills any moral criteria, but because it is habitually obeyed. A sovereign, which can be a person or a group, is the holder of final and unlimited power, and will as a matter of observable fact be found in any society.

This theory of law is the most simple kind of legal positivism.

H A L Hart, The Concept of Law (Oxford, 1961)


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