The Quest for the Description of the Law

pp 33-45

Ronald Dworkin and Restricted Legal Interpretation

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Chapter 5 analyses an important part of Ronald Dworkin's theory of ‘law as integrity’. Dworkin aims at showing that principles and rights restrict legal interpretation and that this should be the case. In this chapter it is shown that his arguments regarding the existence and utility of these restrictions depend on some highly questionable assumptions. Like descriptions of law they need to be supported by arguments. The absence of convincing arguments for the assumptions makes Dworkin's view on rights as trumps seem more like an assumption than a conclusion.