David Frydrych, ‘Hohfeld vs The Legal Realists’

ABSTRACT
2018 marked the centenary of Wesley Hohfeld’s untimely passing. Curiously, in recent years quite a few legal historians and philosophers have identified him as a Legal Realist. This article argues that Hohfeld was no such thing, that his work need not be understood in such lights either, and that he in fact made a smaller contribution to jurisprudence than is generally believed. He has nothing to do with theories of official decision-making that identify, among other things, ‘extra-legal’ factors as the real drivers of judicial decision-making, nor must his schema of jural relations advance a ‘Realist’ political agenda. Distinguishing Hohfeld from the Realists will help to correct some misunderstandings about his work and point to its utility in many more contexts than a Realist reading of it allows.


David Frydrych, Hohfeld vs The Legal Realists, Legal Theory, Volume 24, Issue 4, December 2018, pp 291-344, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1352325218000150. Published online: 31 January 2019.

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