IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Law’s Legitimacy and Democracy-Plus

Listed author(s):
  • Wojciech Sadurski
Registered author(s):

    Is it the case that the law, in order to be fully legitimate, must not only be adopted in a procedurally correct way but must also comply with certain substantive values? In the first part of the paper I prepare the ground for the discussion of legitimacy of democratic laws by considering the relationship between law’s legitimacy, its justification and the obligation to obey the law. If legitimacy of law is seen as based on the law being justified (as in Raz’s service conception), our duty to obey it does not follow automatically: it must be based on some additional arguments. Raz’s conception of legitimate authority does not presuppose, as many critics claim, any unduly deferential attitude towards authorities. Disconnection of the law’s legitimacy from the absolute duty to obey it leads to the central part of the paper which consists in a critical scrutiny of the claim that the democratically adopted law is legitimate only insofar as it expresses the right moral values. This claim is shown to be, under one interpretation (motivational), nearly meaningless or, under another interpretation (constitutional), too strong to survive the pressure from moral pluralism. While we cannot hope for a design of pure procedural democracy (by analogy to Rawlsian pure procedural justice), democratic procedures express the values which animate the adoption of a democratic system in the first place.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by European University Institute (EUI), Department of Law in its series EUI-LAW Working Papers with number 18.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 01 Dec 2005
    Handle: RePEc:erp:euilaw:p0034
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:euilaw:p0034. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Machteld Nijsten)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.