The Concept of Law - Chapter 3, The Variety of Laws Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 3, The Variety of Laws Summary and Analysis

Hart argues that if we examine the many types of law, we will find many objections to Austin's basic definition of law. The objections fall into three categories: objections concerning the content of laws, their origin and their range of application.

First, the content of laws. The criminal law specifies duties we must follow. When we break the law we do wrong and commit offense. The point of such laws is to define and punish actions to prevent them from occurring. The law of torts, on the other hand, specifies conditions upon which individuals are compensated for harms produced by the conduct of others. And yet there are legal rules defining ways in which valid contracts are made that only require that individuals act conditionally.

What about laws that structure judicial practice? For...

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