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What differentiates laws from orders backed by threats? What is legal obligation and how is it related to moral obligation? What are rules and how far does law consist of rules? What is justice and how does it differ from the rest of morality?
In the course of a detailed and independent discussion of these recurrent problems the author identifies a set of elements of central importance for the under-standing of law, and makes a fresh start in legal theory. The book con-tains a new analysis of the notions of legal validity, sovereignty, and the foundation of a legal system; a re-examination of natural law and legal positivism; an original discussion of the limits of formalism in the judicial process; and an assessment of the character of international law.
The text is supplemented by detailed bibliographical notes and discussions of contemporary and earlier writers.