By Neil MacCormick
Institutions of Law marks the lengthy awaited definitive assertion of Sir Neil MacCormick's specific idea of legislation as 'institutional normative order'. It takes account of contemporary advancements within the sociology of legislation to supply a rigorous research of the position of legislations in our society and indicates how legislation creates the stipulations for social peace and a thriving financial system. In doing so, Institutions of Law fills the necessity for a twenty-first century advent to criminal concept, akin to used to be accomplished within the final century through H.L.A. Hart's The idea of Law.
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Additional info for Institutions of Law
It is worth remarking that constitutional conventions, though themselves implicit norms and informal ones in the sense of lacking any single authoritative formulation, nevertheless regulate the conduct of ofﬁcers and agencies of state which for the most part are deﬁned in a highly formalized and institutionalized way. Citing Sir K Wheare, Marshall refers to conventions as ‘binding rules’ (p 7), but in a context (pp 7–13) in which it is clear that these are norms that lack any single authoritative formulation, hence do not count as ‘rules’ in the terminology used here.
Here, interpretation precedes formulation. But in the case of rules explicitly issued, interpretation succeeds formulation. One common and understandable usage applies the term ‘rule’ particularly to the case of the formally enunciated norm issued by somebody in some position of decision-making authority. To say ‘there is a rule about that’ in a practical context of potential interpersonal dispute or conﬂict is to invite the challenge to produce the text of the rule and show who issued it, and with what authority to do so.
But when the practice is transposed into an ofﬁcial or commercial setting, somebody can be given the task of deciding these things, and a system, such as the numbered ticket-roll, can be set up to render precise what in the informal setting is vague. The ofﬁcial or employee in charge usually has or assumes authority to determine how to settle disputed or unclear or unforeseen problems in the arrangements that come to light in their day-to-day running. All the more is this so in a situation in which some form of standing authority or power is held by one person (or a group) over others, and where this power is used to direct the subject-group to line up for meals, or for a work-rota, or whatever.