Sanctions: an Essential Element of Law?
CONVENORs: Christoph Bezemek, Fred Schauer, Nicoletta Bersier
It doesn’t seem that long ago that “law” and “sanctions” were thought of as necessarily interrelated. “Every Law is a command”, we read in Austin’s Province of Jurisprudence Determined; a particular command, however, in “that the party to whom it is directed is liable to evil from the other, in case he [does not] comply”. And “[t]he evil which will probably be incurred in case a command be disobeyed […] is frequently called a sanction”.

H. L. A. Hart’s famed critique of Austin’s “command theory of law” successfully drove a wedge into the interrelation of “law and “sanctions”; so successful, in fact, that it caused some scholars to part with the idea of “force” underlying the concept of law altogether and others to emphatically protest what they perceived as a rash move to discard one of the core features of law.

The debate still is on. In its light, this workshop is dedicated to the concept of sanctions and to the reassessment of its interrelation with the concept of law.