RULE OF RECOGNITIONrule of recognition. In the legal theory of H.L.A. Hart, a legal system’s fundamental rule, by which all other rules are identified and understood. ? In The Concept of Law (1961), Hart contends that a society’s legal system is centered on rules. There are primary rules of obligation, which prescribe how a person should act in society, and secondary rules, by which the primary rules are created, identified, changed, and understood. A ¡°rule of recognition¡± is a secondary rule, and serves to instruct citizens on when a pronouncement or societal principle constitutes a rule of obligation. Cf. RULES OF CHANGE; basic norm under NORM. ¡ª Sometimes shortened to recognition.
¡°This rule [the rule of recognition] may amount to no more than specifying a list of primary rules carved on a public monument. Or it may actually be a complete set of rules ….¡± Martin P. Golding, Philosophy of Law 44 (1975).
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