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Radbruch and Hart on the Grudge Informer: A Reconsideration

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Hart's defense of the separation of law and morality is partly based on his refusal to accept Radbruch's solution of the well-known grudge informer case, in his famous article “Statutory Injustice and Suprastatutory Law.” In this paper, I present a detailed reconstruction of the “debate” between Radbruch and Hart on this case. I reach the conclusion that Hart fails to address the issue that was Radbruch's primary concern, namely the legal position of the judiciary when dealing with criminal statutes. I suggest that Hart's separation thesis cannot be upheld in the face of this concern. In my argument, Hart's mistaken understanding of the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht Bamberg that he refers to plays a crucial role.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Law, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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