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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Goode on Commercial Law

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The Concept of Socialist Law

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ISBN13: 9780198252467
ISBN: 0198252463
Published: January 1992
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £80.00

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In aiming to remedy the contempt for law prominent in socialist writings, this book looks at the ideas of political thinkers on the left who dismiss those legal institutions which, in liberal capitalist societies, have ensured some minimum measure of justice in citizens' lives. Marxists in particular, according to the author, have tended to reduce law to a capitalist apparatus necessary to mediate conflict between egoist wills or social classes. The book argues against this doctrine by showing that however ideal a society socialists envisage, legal institutions would be necessary to adjudicate conflict between private and public interests. Each chapter takes up an issue in liberal jurisprudence to see how it would fare in a socialists' theory which takes a constructive approach to law. The rule of law, natural and legal rights, obligations and the sources of law are among the subjects covered. The book concludes that a socialist concept of law would enrich, not only debates about the nature of socialism, but also debates about community and justice which preoccupy ""mainstream"" political theory and jurisprudence.

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Part 1 The "withering away" of law and egoism
socialism and egoism
law and ideology
socialism and ideology
law and class rule
socialism and class rule.
Part 2 Justice and the sources of socialist law: the natural law position
the legal positivist critique
socialist positivism
hard cases and the morality of law
praxis and the identification of law
the justice of law - the show trials, the comrades' courts, the parasite laws.
Part 3 Freedom and the rule of law: capitalist freedom and the rule of law
capitalist domination and the rule of law
the rule of law and freedom under socialism
the rule of law under capitalism - three cases - the biases of the judiciary, access to legal representation, the enforcement agenda.
Part 4 Human rights and political reform: the concepts of human rights
human rights in Marxist theory and practice
the positivist critique
natural rights and social justice
natural rights versus human rights
what human rights do we have?
Part 5 Altruism and rights under socialist circumstances of justice: the circumstances of justice
legal rights in a Golden Age
law as a vehicle of altruism
altruism and self-interest
rights as trumps.
Part 6 Self-government and the obligation to obey socialist law: obligation derived from consent
the radical alternative
a critique of the radical, participatory alternative - the case of the dissenting minority, the role of extenuating circumstances, the problem of the non-participants.