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Constitutional JusticeA Liberal Theory of the Rule of Law$
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T. R. S. Allan

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267880

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267880.001.0001

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Legal Obligation and the Concept of Law

Legal Obligation and the Concept of Law

(p.61) 3 Legal Obligation and the Concept of Law
Constitutional Justice

T.R.S. Allan

Oxford University Press

The various formal requirements of an essentially procedural version of the rule of law derive their point and fundamental value from the broader ideal of constitutionalism to which, ideally, they belong. Lon Fuller's ‘inner morality’ of law — the model of law as a body of general, clear, stable, and prospective rules, capable of obedience, and faithfully applied by judges and other public officials — formed the core of a more elaborate conception of law as a bulwark or barrier against the exercise of arbitrary state power. This chapter further examines Fuller's concept and its connections with an associated view of the nature of legal obligation. It is that account of legal obligation — implicit in Fuller's work — that ultimately forges the link between law and justice that was central to his thought. A liberal interpretation of the ‘internal morality’ of law is presented, and the legal and moral aspects of obligation to obey the law are discussed along with a moral and constitutional conception of law. The intrinsic moral value of fair procedures is also considered.

Keywords:   internal morality of law, fair procedures, legal obligation, Lon Fuller, rule of law, moral value

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