Legal norm

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A legal norm or legal regulation or legal sentence is understood to be either a legal regulation or a regulation of a general abstract nature issued on a legal basis or contained in customary law . Since it works for a variety of issues, it is abstract; because of its effect on a wide variety of people, it is general. If a legal norm is only applicable to one person or a single issue, it is called an individual law . The concept of the legal norm is defined differently in jurisprudence . The associated adjective is normative .

Differentiation from other social norms

Legal norms are one of the social norms , which also includes moral norms . In contrast to these, legal norms can be enforced with orders and coercion by way of enforcement, even against the will of the norm addressee . In addition, it concerns with a rule of law, as opposed to the moral norm to positive law : it means that it of humans to humans for specific production rules set is.

Differentiation from the legal principle

Legal sentence and legal norm are not synonyms. Paul Eltzbacher stated as early as 1903: "The legal clauses are the building blocks from which the artistic buildings of legal norms are put together". The legal norm concerns the “content of legal ought requirement” and is therefore imperative in character, on the other hand the defining and filling legal clauses fulfill other functions. The right sentence contains the structure of a sentence ( semantic characteristic ) and the reference point of the law ( functional characteristic ). He makes a legal statement. In contrast, the legal norm reflects the meaning of several abstract, general legal propositions.

Structure of the legal norm

A legal norm basically consists of a fact and a legal consequence in the sense of an if-then relation (legal syllogism ). Such legal norms determine the actual conditions under which a certain legal success should occur. If the question of fact ( quaestio facti ) is answered in the affirmative, then the legal consequence should apply.

In addition, legal norms can also contain mere definitions in that a certain understanding of the term is made binding by the legislature. An example of such a legal definition is Section 194 (1) of the German Civil Code : the right to demand that another act or omit is legally defined as a claim .

Target norms do not have a directly regulating, but rather programmatic character and contain a regulatory mandate for the enactment of further legal provisions that serve to achieve the target.

With the establishment of legal norms and their application to the doctrine employed by the legal rule .

On the use of the term legal norm

The equation of the legal norm with the substantive law is widespread, the latter being the legal source from which the legal norm is ultimately taken. According to this, the legal norm is any (in personal terms) general and (in factual terms) abstract regulation that is aimed at external impact. Examples: Constitution , Parliament Act , Ordinance , Statute under public law . In this respect, one speaks of positive law because it has been set “positively” by a legislator , in contrast to unwritten customary law . However, this classification is not mandatory. Where there is still room for its validity in the social constitutional state , customary law also consists of legal norms.

The concept of legal norms is expanded when the finality of external effects is dispensed with. The legal norm is then every (personal) general and (factual) abstract provision. Examples: Constitution, parliamentary law, ordinance, municipal statute, subsidy directive as administrative regulation .

It is also possible to understand as a legal norm any regulation that normatively qualifies certain modes of behavior , i.e. by specifying a subsumption condition or linking a legal consequence to an offense. Examples: Constitution, parliamentary law, ordinance, municipal statute, judicial law or legal norms created through legal training , subsidy guidelines as administrative regulations, building permits as administrative acts , sales contracts . This terminology corresponds, for example, to Hans Kelsen's pure legal theory .

Types of legal norms

Representation of the relationships between the standard types in the standard square

A should-be arrangement can be assigned to the following four types (typification):

stipulates an obligation to cease and desist;
stipulates a duty to act;
establishes a right to act;
establishes a right of omission.


Web links

Wiktionary: Legal norm  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Paul Eltzbacher, The ability to act according to German civil law , 1903, p. 43.
  2. Hermann Eichler, Law and System , 1970, p. 36.
  3. Dirk Heckmann, Validity and Loss of Validity of Legal Norms , 1997, p. 124 f.
  4. A meanwhile "classic" presentation can be found in the textbook literature at: Karl Larenz / Claus-Wilhelm Canaris , Methods of Law , 3rd Edition, Springer-Verlag , Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 1995, ISBN 3-540-59086-2 , Chapter 2 - “The Doctrine of the Law”, pp. 71–98.
  5. ^ Klaus F. Röhl : General legal theory: A textbook. Carl Heymann Verlag , Cologne / Berlin / Bonn / Munich 1995, ISBN 3-452-21806-6 , pp. 192-196.