Rules of recognition in the primary courts of Zimbabwe: on lawyers’ reasonings and customary law
Seidman, Robert B.
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In The Concept of Law, H. L. A. Hart argues that a developed legal system has as a distinguishing mark a set of rules of recognition. These consist of rules of law that instruct lawyers and judges what counts as law and what does not. They include the rules of statutory construction and the use of precedent. Unless at least the members of the State apparatus accept the rules of recognition without coercion, the State must disintegrate. These rules seem far removed from notions of power. In the usual perception, no set of rules seem more “technical”, i.e. value-free. On the contrary, 1 argue here that in fact they embody choices, and that choosing one set of rules of recognition rather than another creates different power relationships.