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Essays on BenthamJurisprudence and Political Philosophy$
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H. L. A. Hart

Print publication date: 1982

Print ISBN-13: 9780198254683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.001.0001

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Legal Rights

Legal Rights

(p.162) VII Legal Rights
Essays on Bentham

H. L. A. Hart

Oxford University Press

The notion of a legal right has proved in the history of jurisprudence to be very elusive: how elusive may be judged not only from the well-known division of theories into ‘Will theories’ and ‘Interest theories’ but also from some of the interesting though also strange things that jurists and others have said about rights. They have on the whole hammered rights with sceptical doubts much harder than obligations or duties. Duguit, for example, held that there were legal duties but no legal rights; Austin, Bentham, and in our own day, Ross, while apparently admitting that there may be non-legal obligations or duties insist that ‘strictly’ the only rights are legal rights.

Keywords:   jurisprudence, legal rights, jurists, duties, non-legal obligations, Bentham, Ross

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