Domesticating Kelsen
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Domesticating Kelsen

Towards the Pure Theory of English Law

Alexander Orakhelashvili

There exists a genuine degree of scepticism as to whether Hans Kelsen’s pure theory of law can rationalise the intricacies of the English legal system. This ground-breaking book examines pertinent aspects of English law relating to constitutional patterns of law-making, the relationship between law and policy, and the ultimate efficacy of the legal order, through the pure theory’s prism. It demonstrates that while Kelsen’s theory is highly suitable to examine some of these issues, in relation to some aspects of English law it actually possesses the analytical cutting edge.
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Chapter 4: Constitution and normative hierarchy

Alexander Orakhelashvili


Chapter 4 focuses on the nature of the unwritten constitution in English law and on the hierarchical arrangement of the law-making authority along with the analytical approach prioritised by the pure theory. Having identified the meaning of unwritten constitution, the chapter moves on to identify the patterns along which English law develops its own approaches regarding norm-creation, norm-contrariety and judicial review.

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