Mikhail Antonov1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 16 Soyuza Pechatnikov Str., Saint Petersburg, 190008, Russian Federation

Hans Kelsen (1881–1973): Main Stages of Theoretical Research

2013. No. 1. P. 3–15 [issue contents]

Antonov Michail -  Assistant Professor, Department of Theory and History of Law, Faculty of Law, Saint Petersburg Campus of National Research University Higher School of Economics, Candidate of Juridical Sciences. Address: 17 Promyshlennaya St., Saint Petersburg, 198099, Russian Federation. E-mail: mantonov@hse.ru.

This article deals with the general characterization of the legal conception elaborated by the 20th century prominent jurist Hans Kelsen (1881—1973). The author examines the major stages of the biography and intellectual formation of this Austrian legal thinker. The author particularly stresses the relationship between Kelsen’s ideas about law, and his practical activity as law professor, jurist, and judge. A special attention is drawn to the period before the Second World War. Kelsen formulated crucial for legal science questions i.e. questions relating to the grounds of efficiency for legal norms, epistemic conditions of a single legal order, on interconnection between law and state. Hence, the problems were discussed by Kelsen in terms of democracy, equality, rule of law. Modern European legal academics refer to the ideas of the Austrian legal scholar regularly. The main perspective of Kelsen’s concept is the original interpretation of the rule of law within the version of legal normativism which has been referred to as pure theory of law. Kelsen’s theory of law was a theory excluding all the components strange to legal thinking. Legal studies should focus not on social or ethical grounds of legal norms but specific normative essence of law. This interpretation without reference to sociology, ethics and other social sciences has given an opportunity to overcome ideological tendencies and describe the law as it is without justifying or criticizing it. Currently, Kelsen’s theory is a locus generating academic discussions on legal norms. His legal theory is complicated, it is controversial and has different interpretations featured in the article. 

Citation: Antonov M. (2013) Gans Kel'zen (1881–1973): osnovnye vekhi intellektual'nogo puti [Hans Kelsen (1881–1973): Main Stages of Theoretical Research]. Pravo. Zhurnal Vysshei shkoly ekonomiki, no 1, pp. 3-15. (in Russian)
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