Chercher in Nomôdos

30 oct. 2015

B. Spagnolo, "The Continuity of Legal Systems in Theory and Practice", Hart Publishing, 2015

Benjamin Spagnolo 
The Continuity of Legal Systems in Theory and Practice

Hart Publishing, oct. 2015, 280 p., (Hardback, October 2015, 9781849468831, £58 / ePub, 9781849468855, £54.99 / Adobe PDF ebook, 9781849468848, £54.99)

Présentation éditeur
The Continuity of Legal Systems in Theory and Practice examines a persistent and fascinating question about the continuity of legal systems: when is a legal system existing at one time the same legal system that exists at another time?

The book's distinctive approach to this question is to combine abstract critical analysis of two of the most developed theories of legal systems, those of Hans Kelsen and Joseph Raz, with an evaluation of their capacity, in practice, to explain the facts, attitudes and normative standards for which they purport to account. That evaluation is undertaken by reference to Australian constitutional law and history, whose diverse and complex phenomena make it particularly apt for evaluating the theories’ explanatory power.

In testing whether the depiction of Australian law presented by each theory achieves an adequate ‘fit’ with historical facts, the book also contributes to the understanding of Australian law and legal systems between 1788 and 2001. By collating the relevant Australian materials systematically for the first time, it presents the case for reconceptualising the role of Imperial laws and institutions during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and clarifies the interrelationship between Colonial, State, Commonwealth and Imperial legal systems both before and after Federation.


  • Benjamin Spagnolo is the Penningtons Student (Fellow) and Tutor in Law at Christ Church, Oxford.


Table of Abbreviations
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes
Table of Treaties and International Instruments 

1. Introduction
I. ‘Applying’ Theoretical Accounts

II. Kelsen and Raz 

III. Australia 1788–2001 

IV. A Note on Methodology 

V. Outline 

2. Australia 1788–2001 
I. Nature and Material Scope 
A. Constitutional History: New South Wales 
i. Gubernatorial Autocracy 1788–1823 
ii. Governor and Council 1823–42 
iii Representative and Responsible Government 
iv Federation to the Australia Acts 
v After the Australia Acts 
B. Constitutional History: Commonwealth 
i Federation to the Statute of Westminster 
ii Statute of Westminster to the Australia Acts 
iii After the Australia Acts 
C. Enacting Formulae 
i New South Wales 
ii Commonwealth 
D. Seals and Royal Title 
E. Commonwealth and State Symbols 
i Arms 
ii Flags 
iii Honours and Advance Australia Fair 
F. Defence Forces 
G. Summary 

II. Spatial Scope 
A. Overview 
B. Separations and Mergers 
C. Unpopulated Territory and Non-territorial Space 
D. Unincorporated Administration
E. Summary 

III. Personal Scope
A. Allegiance, Nationality and Citizenship
i Allegiance, Naturalisation and Denization
ii Nationality Under the Common Code
iii Citizenship
B. Franchise
i New South Wales
ii Commonwealth
iii Norfolk Island
C. Oaths of Allegiance
D. Summary

IV. Conclusions: Changes in Australian Law 1788–2001

3. Kelsen: Authorised Constitutional Change
I. Framework: Norms and Legal Orders

II. Hierarchy and Basic Norm

III. Multiple Legal Systems
A. Independent Systems
B. Total and Partial Systems
C. International Law and the Universal Legal System
D. Late Kelsen

IV. Continuity 
A. Revolutions, Authorisation and Effectiveness
B. Exception: Termination of Systemic Validity
C. Deemed Constitutionality: Constitutional Norms with an Alternative Character
D. Continuity by International Law

V. Problems with Kelsen’s Account
A. Constructing the Hierarchy
B. Circularity in Ascertaining the Basic Norm
C. Historically First Constitutions

VI. Conclusions

4. Application of Kelsen’s Account 
I. Norms and Constitutions in New South  Wales in 1788
A. Locating the Basic Norm
B. Discontinuity at Settlement?
C. New South Wales as a Partial Legal System

II. Continuity and Unconstitutional Gubernatorial Orders in New South Wales
A. Possibility of Retrospective Authorisation
B. Regularisation and Multiple Sufficient Basic Norms

III. Continuity and Pre-Federation New South  Wales as a Partial Legal System
A. Continuity of Partial Legal Systems
B. Decentralisation and Constitutional Conventions

IV. Continuity and Merger: State Legal Systems at Federation
A. Continuity Between Colonial and State  Partial Legal Systems
B. Australian and Commonwealth Legal  Systems and Territorial Overlap
C. Termination of (Partial) Systemic Validity?
D. Federation and Merger in Practice

V. Discontinuity: Total and National Legal Systems and the Statute of Westminster
A. Total (National) Legal Systems and Historically First Constitutions 
B. Application of the Transformation to  National Legal System Exception
C. Alternative Analyses

VI. Continuity after the Statute of Westminster

VII.  Continuity by International Law

VIII. Conclusions

5. Raz: Continuity of Social Form
I. Taxonomy of Laws and Internal Relations
A. Laws 
i Duty-imposing Laws
ii Power-conferring Laws
iii Permission-granting Laws
iv Laws that Are not Norms
B. Internal Relations
i Genetic Relations
ii Regulative Relations
iii Permissive Relations
iv Applicative Relations
C. Rights and Other Legal Phenomena

II. Institutionalised Normative Systems

III. Recognition
A. Recognising Relations Between Laws
B. What Recognition Entails

IV. Continuity 
A. Legal Changes
B. Non-legal Political Changes
C. Interaction Between Laws and Non-legal Norms
D. The Reconstruction Summarised and Compared

V. Conclusions

6. Application of Raz’s Account
I. Continuity: Settlement to Federation
A. Settlement
B. Settlement to Responsible Government
C. Responsible Government to Federation

II. Federation and Discontinuity
A. Federation
i Continuity in the Colonial-turned-State Legal Systems 
ii Continuity in the Imperial Legal System
B. Federation to the Statute of Westminster
C. After the Statute of Westminster 
i Statute of Westminster to the Australia Acts
ii The States and the Australia Acts
iii Discontinuity in the Territories

III. Conclusions

7. Evaluation
I. Continuity in Theory: Fit and Explanatory Power
II/ Continuity in Practice: Australia 1788–2001