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Wesely Hohfeld, FUNDAMENTAL LEGAL CONCEPTIONS AS APPLIED IN JUDICIAL REASONING

Wesely Hohfeld, FUNDAMENTAL LEGAL CONCEPTIONS AS APPLIED IN JUDICIAL REASONING

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FUNDAMENTAL LEGAL CONCEPTIONS AS APPLIED IN JUDICIAL REASONING
FUNDAMENTAL LEGAL CONCEPTIONS AS APPLIED IN JUDICIAL REASONING

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Published by: CPLJ on Jan 28, 2011
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The Yale Law Journal Company, Inc.
Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial ReasoningAuthor(s): Wesley Newcomb HohfeldSource:
The Yale Law Journal,
Vol. 26, No. 8 (Jun., 1917), pp. 710-770Published by:
Stable URL:
Accessed: 28/01/2011 05:05
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FUNDAMENTAL LEGALCONCEPTIONSASAPPLIED INJUDICIALREASONING'
Thepresent discussion,while intendedto beintrinsicallycom-plete so far as intelligent and convenient perusalisconcerned,represents, as originally planned, a continuation of anarticlewhichappearedunder thesametitle morethanthreeyearsago.2It therefore seems desirable to indicate,inverygeneral form,the scope and purposeofthe latter.The maindivisions wereentitled: Legal ConceptionsContrastedwith Non-legal Concep-tions; OperativeFactsContrasted withEvidentialFacts;andFundamental Jural Relations Contrasted with One Another.Thejural relations analyzed and discussed under the last subtitle were,at theoutset, groupedina convenient "schemeofopposites and
correlatives";3
and it will greatly facilitate thepresentation ofthe matters to behereafterconsideredifthatschemeberepro-ducedat thepresent point:Jural
X
right privilege powerimmunityOpposites no-right duty disabilityliabilityJural
X
right privilege powerimmunityCorrelativesl duty no-right liability disabilityThegreat practical importanceofaccuratethoughtand pre-ciseexpressionasregardsbasiclegalideasand theirembodi-mentinaterminologynot calculated tomislead isnot alwaysfully realized-especially bythestudentnotyet faradvanced in
'COPYRIGHT,
I9I7,
byWesley Newcomb Hohfeld.Thesubstance of thisarticle,withsomeexpansionand muchadditionalillustrativematerialfromjudicialopinions, willformpart ofa volumetoappearshortly underthesametitle as that heregiven.
2
(9I3)
23
YALELAW
JOURNAL,
i6,59. One ofthechiefpurposes ofthis earlierarticlewasto establish a firmfoundationfor theanalysisand discussion ofcomplexjuralinterests,oraggregatesofjural rela-tions,-theinterest ofthe cestuiquetrusthaving beenmoreespeciallyin
view.See
(19I3)
23
YALELAWJOURNAL,
i6-20,andnotes. Thislast-
mentionedsubjectreceives some incidentalconsiderationinthe pagesfollowing;butamoreadequatetreatmentmustbe reserved foranother
occasion.
8
See(O9M3)
23
YALELAWJOURNAL,
i6,
30
ff.,
where the
individual
conceptionsrepresentedin thescheme aretreatedat length.
 
FUNDAMENTALLEGALCONCEPTIONS
7VI
hislegal work; andit is eventrue thatmanyanexperiencedlawyer has alltoo thoughtlesslyassumedthatthosemattersusually consideredinworks onso-called"jurisprudence-" aremerely "academic"incharacterand devoidofsubstantialutilityforthepractitioner orjudge.Inorderto dissipate,ifpossible,this fallacious notion-one sodemonstrablyunfortunateinitsconsequencesasregardsalldepartmentsof the law -theeightconceptions representedintheabovescheme wereanalyzed andcomparedingreatdetail,thepurposehavingbeennotonly toexhibittheir intrinsicmeaningandscope and theirrelations to
'SeeMr.JusticeHolmes,The PathoftheLaw
(I897)
IOHARv.
L.REV.456,474-475:"Jurisprudence,asIlookatit, issimplylawinitsmostgen-eralizedpart.Everyeffort toreduceacase to aruleisaneffortofjurisprudence,althoughthenameasusedinEnglishisconfinedtothebroadest rules andmostfundamentalconceptions.Onemarkof agreatlawyeristhathesees theapplicationofthebroadestrules.Thereis astory ofaVermont justiceofthepeacebeforewhomasuitwasbroughtbyonefarmeragainstanotherforbreak-ing achurn.Thejusticetooktime toconsider, andthen saidthathehadlookedthroughthestatutesandcould findnothingaboutchurns, andgavejudgmentforthedefendant.Thesame stateofmind isshown inallourcommondigestsandtext-books.Applica-tions ofrudimentaryrules ofcontract ortortaretuckedawayunderthehead ofRailroadsorTelegraphsorgo to swelltreatiseson historicalsubdivisions,suchasShippingorEquity,or aregath-ered underanarbitrary titlewhichisthoughtlikelytoappealtothepracticalmind,suchas MercantileLaw.If amangoesintolaw itpaysto beamasterof it,andto beamasterofit means tolookstraightthroughallthedramaticincidentsandto discernthetruebasis forprophecy.Therefore, itiswelltohaveanaccuratenotion ofwhat youmeanby law,byaright, byaduty, bymalice,intent,andnegligence,byownership,bypossession,andso forth.Ihaveinmymindcases inwhichthehighest courtsseemtome tohaveflounderedbecausetheyhad noclearideason some of thesethemes."Thefollowingobservationsofthe same learnedjudgeare alsodeservingofconsideration:"Aslongasthematterto beconsideredisdebated inartificialtermsthereis adanger ofbeingledby atechnical definition toapplyacertainname, and thentodeduceconsequenceswhichhaveno relation tothegroundsonwhichthenamewasapplied."Mr.Justice Holmes inGuy v.Donald
(i9o6)
203U.S. 399,406;
27
Sup.Ct.Rep.63,64."Itisone ofthemisfortunes ofthelawthatideasbecomeencystedinphrasesandthereafter foralongtimeceasetoprovokefurtheranalysis."Mr.JusticeHolmes,inHydev.UnitedStates
(I9ii)223
U.S.347,
39I.
Comparetheremarks ofLordKinnear,inBankofScotland v.Macleod
[1914]
A.C.
3II,
324.
HethereendorsesLordWestbury'sdeclarationthat "there isnot amorefruitfulsource oferror inlawthantheinac-

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