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Encyclopedia > Grundnorm

Grundnorm is a German word meaning "fundamental norm." The jurist and legal philosopher Hans Kelsen used the word to denote the fundamental norm, order, or rule that forms an underlying basis for a legal system.


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The Head Heeb: Kelsen's next test (1913 words)
As a legal positivist, he believed that the ultimate basis of law was power, and that a legal system not backed by an effective system of enforcement wasn't really law at all.
Once a Grundnorm was effectively overthrown, then it ceased to exist, and all law emanated from the new one.
My other problem with Kelsen is that he takes a fundamentally civil-law view of courts as government functionaries, and fails to appreciate the degree to which common-law courts (and, to an increasing extent, constitutional courts in civil law countries) can be sources of power in their own right.
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