Legal theory

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As legal theory , the experiment is called, the right to represent in all its manifestations systematic and verifiable (falsifiable) from knowledge to win.


Legal theory was initially part of legal philosophy , but developed as an independent discipline towards the end of the 19th century . The terms legal theory , legal philosophy, and general legal theory are used interchangeably by some legal scholars , while others refer to separate disciplines.

The concept of law

In contrast to legal dogmatics, legal theory “does not focus on certain objects of legal regulation (ie not on certain obligations , criminal offenses or constitutional structures ), but on the concept of state law itself”, i. H. on its essential characteristics: It is a code of conduct that effectively organizes and justly regulates the use of freedom and the balance of interests in a community .

Functions of Legal Theory

Legal theory has three functions that can be described as empirical , analytical and normative .

  • Empirically, legal theory is about the effects of norms on society. The legal sociological and psychological question arises as to whether and how legal norms affect people's behavior. These are studies of the actual application and compliance of the law in society, its recognition by judges and citizens.
  • Analytically, it is about the investigation of legal language, the structure of legal norms and the structure of the legal system.
  • From a normative point of view, it is about the concept of law per se (what is law?), Its reason for validity (why does law apply?) And the methods of applying law (methodology). Legal theory therefore asks about the possibilities of determining the right or just law.

For the current directions in legal theory, cf. the article Philosophy of Law .

See also


See also the selection bibliography in the article Philosophy of Law .

Individual evidence

  1. Reinhold Zippelius : Das Wesen des Rechts , 6th edition 2012.
  2. See Bernd Rüthers : Rechtsstheorie, 4th edition, CH Beck, Munich 2008, p. 15 f.