Austinian Theory of Law
Austin proposed a theory of law that became popular as the Austinian Theory of Law. It is also called the Imperative or Purely Imperative Theory of Law.
Sovereign is the Source of Law
- Law is set by a sovereign individual or a sovereign body of individuals to a person or to a persons in a state of subjection to its author.
- Law is a product of the sovereign.
- If there is no sovereign, there is no law.
- Existence of law is an unmistakable indication of the existence of the sovereign.
Law is a set of commands
- Law is a set of commands or rules
- The author of the law is supreme
- Nothing that is not a command is law
- Nothing commanded by anyone but the supreme authority is law.
- Legal Rule is of two types:
- General Command: States the legal requirements
- Sanction: Sanctions are implemented if command is not obeyed. Force will be applied against the person.
Law is a general command and not a particular command
- To be a law, the sovereign command should be a general command.
- If the command requires only a specified act or forbearance, it is not a law but a particular command.
- Blackstone: Law obliges general members of a given class; Particular command obliges individual persons
- Law is the expression of a wish by the sovereign that the subject shall do or forbear from doing acts of a class as distinguished from a simple or isolated act.
Command implies sanction
- Law being a command, there are sanctions for its enforcement.
- Sanction in the form of some evil is inflicted in case of neglect to obey the law.
- Sanction is an essential ingredient of law.