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The Making of Legal AuthorityNon-legislative Codifications in Historical and Comparative Perspective$
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Nils Jansen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588763

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588763.001.0001

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The Making of Legal Authority

The Making of Legal Authority

(p.95) Chapter 4 The Making of Legal Authority
The Making of Legal Authority

Nils Jansen

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the question of how legal authority is made. More specifically, it asks how non-legislative reference texts can achieve such a high degree of authority that the participants in legal discourse may rely on such texts as an ultimate source of the law. Even if a full answer to this question is not possible, because the legal authority of an individual reference text is always the result of an individual historical process of recognition that cannot be fully explained on the basis of abstract theory alone, and because such processes are often connected with social struggle for influence, wealth, and reputation, it may be possible, nevertheless, to identify and better understand some factors contributing to the authority of a legal reference text.

Keywords:   legal authority, legal texts, non-legislative reference texts

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