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.
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