The idea that law claims authority (LCA) has recently been forcefully criticized by a number of authors. These authors present a new and intriguing objection, arguing that law cannot be said to claim authority if such a claim is not justified. That is, these authors argue that the view that law does not have authority viciously conflicts with the view that law claims authority. I will call this the normative critique of LCA. In this article, I assess the normative critique of LCA, focusing predominantly on the arguments presented by its most incisive proponent Philip Soper. I defend a twofold conclusion. First, LCA, understood roughly along the lines put forward by Joseph Raz, is part of the most attractive analysis of law. Second, proponents of the normative critique, and in particular Soper, are committed to accepting LCA.
van der Vossen, Bas. “Assessing Law’s Claim to Authority”, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 31 (2011): 481–501. https://doi.org/10.1093/ojls/gqr013
Oxford University Press
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, volume 31, in 2011 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at https://doi.org/10.1093/ojls/gqr013.