In the debate between positivism and non-positivism the argument from relativism plays a pivotal role. The argument from relativism, as put forward, for instance, by Hans Kelsen, says, first, that a necessary connection between law and morality presupposes the existence of absolute, objective, or necessary moral elements, and, second, that no such absolute, objective, or necessary moral elements exist. My reply to this is that absolute, objective, or necessary moral elements do exist, for human rights exist, and human rights exist (...) because they are justifiable. (shrink)
The argument of this article is that the dual-nature thesis is not only capable of solving the problem of legal positivism, but also addresses all fundamental questions of law. Examples are the relation between deliberative democracy and democracy qua decision-making procedure along the lines of the majority principle, the connection between human rights as moral rights and constitutional rights as positive rights, the relation between constitutional review qua ideal representation of the people and parliamentary legislation, the commitment of legal argumentation (...) to both authoritative and non-authoritative reasons, and the distinction between rules as expressing a real “ought” and principles as expressing its ideal counterpart. All of this underscores the point that the dual nature of law is the single most essential feature of law. (shrink)
In any country where there is a Bill of Rights, constitutional rights reasoning is an important part of the legal process. As more and more countries adopt Human Rights legislation and accede to international human rights agreements, and as the European Union introduces its own Bill of Rights, judges struggle to implement these rights consistently and sometimes the reasoning behind them is lost. Examining the practice in other jurisdictions can be a valuable guide. Robert Alexy's classic work reconstructs the reasoning (...) behind the jurisprudence of the German Basic Law and in doing so provides a theory of general application to all jurisdictions where judges wrestle with rights adjudication. -/- In considering the features of constitutional rights reasoning, the author moves from the doctrine of proportionality, procedural rights and the structure and scope of constitutional rights, to general rights of liberty and equality and the problem of horizontal effect. A postscript written for the English edition considers critiques of the Theory since it first appeared in 1985, focusing in particular on the discretion left to legislatures and in an extended introduction the translator argues that the theory may be used to clarify the nature of legal reasoning in the context of rights under the British Constitution. -/- This book will be of central interest to all legal and constitutional theorists and human rights scholars. (shrink)
Abstract. The central argument of this article turns on the dual-nature thesis. This thesis sets out the claim that law necessarily comprises both a real or factual dimension and an ideal or critical dimension. The dual-nature thesis is incompatible with both exclusive legal positivism and inclusive legal positivism. It is also incompatible with variants of non-positivism according to which legal validity is lost in all cases of moral defect or demerit (exclusive legal non-positivism) or, alternatively, is affected in no way (...) at all by moral defects or demerits (super-inclusive legal non-positivism). The dual nature of law is expressed, on the one hand, by the Radbruch formula, which says that extreme injustice is not law, and, on the other, by the correctness argument, which says that law's claim to correctness necessarily includes a claim to moral correctness. Thus, what the law is depends not only on social facts, but also on what the law ought to be. (shrink)
At the heart of this book is the age-old question of how law and morality are related. The legal positivist, insisting on the separation of the two, explicates the concept of law independently of morality. The author challenges this view, arguing that there are, first, conceptually necessary connections between law and morality and, second, normative reasons for including moral elements in the concept of law.