The Meaning of the Law

11 Apr 2018 24 pages


The term “law” is polysemic. It is understood differently depending on times, places and institutional regimes. Even in one state and at the same moment, the word can have different meanings.

To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, it seems useful to recall here the various meanings that the term “law” has received in the constitutions of European states and, more broadly, in their legal systems.

There is a tendency to consider that better knowledge of the institutions and sources of law in the European States could help harmonise the vocabulary or, in any case, to adopt a more precise terminology. 


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