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Normativity and NormsCritical Perspectives on Kelsenian Themes$
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Stanley L. Paulson

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198763154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198763154.001.0001

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Kelsen's Doctrine of the Unity of Law *

Kelsen's Doctrine of the Unity of Law *

(p.553) 30 Kelsen's Doctrine of the Unity of Law*
Normativity and Norms

H.L.A. Hart

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines one of the most striking doctrines expounded by Hans Kelsen in his General Theory of Law and State and his more recent Pure Theory of Law. The central positive contention is that all valid laws necessarily form a single system, while the central negative contention is that valid laws cannot conflict. This is the strongest form of Kelsen' doctrine of the unity of law; but arguments are also to be found in Kelsen's books which support a weaker form of this doctrine, namely, that though it is not necessarily true that all valid laws form a single system cannot conflict, it just is the case that they do form a single system and do not conflict. For Kelseon, this doctrine of the unity of law yields certain conclusions regarding the possible or actual relationships between international law and all systems of municipal law.

Keywords:   Hans Kelsen, municipal law, international law, unity of law

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