Hohfelds theory of legal relationship

his theory of legal relations to your students, turn to another article. If not, I my courses.4 Hohfeld's theory is a powerful tool for teaching across a broad. This post is a quick and dirty introduction to Hohfeld for law students (especially first Correlative relation: Q has no claim against P to not-X. Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld, late professor of law in Yale University, was First of all, Professor Hohfeld's celebrated table of jural relations must.

That a right in this sense is the opposite of duty is a matter of accounting rather than of jurisprudence. A number of other suggestions may be grouped. It is pretty certain that spherical triangles, parallel lines which meet, and four-dimensional space were not the restraining ideas of his refusal to provide a system of definitions; but it may be noted that the philosophers and logicians who argue for pluralistic definitions and relativity agree on the acceptance of provisional definitions as data without which the processes of judgment and inference cannot proceed.

But if Professor Hohfeld has declined to define his terms, assuredly he has made it necessary for others to attempt it, if they would have any hope of understanding his proposal.

Here we believe half of his table will be found logically consistent. As to this distinction, Mr. We may say, for the purpose of jurisprudence, that a correlative term is that of an idea which is necessarily connected, and is consistent, with another idea. These combinations of correlatives are fairly well established. But again, so far, so good; for when these terms are inspected in detail, it will be found, unfortunately, that occasionally the meaning is obscured by inconsistent or double usage in the Hohfeld School.

First, A has multital legal rights [rights in rem], or claims that others, respectively, shall not enter on the land, that they shall not cause physical harm to the land, etc. Correlative to all these immunities are the respective legal disabilities of other persons in general. Before passing to a discussion of the other two correlatives, some variations of usage may be pointed out.

Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld - Wikipedia

The additional reason is that the correlation is not complete. The person under disability may lack legal power which is the sense in which the term disability is used in the Hohfeld System, [27] but may there not be a disability, also, because of the existence of duty?

While it is logically incomplete, as it seems to us, in not including under disability the presence of duty as well as the absence of power, it may be objected to for the more important reason that, as limited, it is juristically of no consequence.

One would hardly be considered immune in any practical sense from a disease which has never existed and which will never come into existence. Likewise, in the law, what has never existed and never will exist is not worth consideration either by lawyers or jurists.

It may be conceded that in the administration of justice the question often may be, and is, litigated whether A has the power to divest the title of B. A either has such a power or he has not.

hohfelds theory of legal relationship

If A has the power, we are not dealing with an immunity but with a liability—something real—a positive concept; but if A does not have the power, even though A asserts it, there are blanks on both sides. This way of stating the matter must, we think, disclose that one nothing opposed to another nothing cannot be regarded either as juristic correlatives, or as having any juristic connection or utility.

Nor do we deny that it may rarely be convenient to use a negative category of terms to facilitate communication of ideas, as.

The Hohfeld System of Fundamental Legal Concepts

What is the possible juristic significance of the act? Does the law in any way undertake for the advantage of others to say that A shall, or shall not, smoke the cigar? Then where is the juristic significance? Clearly there is no positive juristic content in the exercise of a liberty, and it is equally apparent that if the law attempted to supervise every possible act of liberty, in criminal law or otherwise, it would break down with its own weight.

It should be emphasized that nothing less than every act of liberty is in question, and that no acts are involved which are a breach either of public or private duty. This category reduces to this: Where one has no right to, or claim upon, the act of another, the other may do as he pleases. Ex nihilo, nihil fit. B can do whatever he or she pleases because B has no duty to refrain from doing it.

hohfelds theory of legal relationship

Each individual is located within a matrix of relationships with other individuals. By summing the rights held and duties owed across all these relationships, the analyst can identify both the degree of liberty — A would have perfect liberty if A has no duty to refrain from acting and others have a duty never to interfere with A's actions — and whether the concept of liberty is comprised by commonly followed practices, thereby establishing general moral principles and civil rights.

Examples of Hohfeldian analysis[ edit ] Hohfeld defines the correlatives in terms of the relationships between two individuals.

Critical Understanding of Power Liability Relation in Hohfeld’s Analysis

In the theory of " in rem rights", there is a direct relationship between a person and a thing. Real rights are in this respect unlike claim rights or "rights in personam", which by nature must be exercised against a person, the best example being when someone is owed money by another. Hohfeld demonstrates that this way of understanding rights in general is wrong.

In particular, Hohfeld demonstrates that there is no such thing as a legal relation between a person and a thing, since a legal relation always operates between two people.

As the legal relations between any two people are complex, it is helpful to break them down into their simplest forms.

Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld

Legal rights do not correspond to single Hohfeldian relations, but are compounds of them. A right can be defined as an aggregate of the Hohfeldian relations with other people. Hohfeld replaces the concept of "right in personam" by "paucital right" and "right in rem" by a compound or aggregate of "multital rights".

Rights held by a person against one or a few definite persons are paucital or "in personam"and rights held by a person against a large indefinite class of people are multital or "in rem".

A contract right is paucital or "in personam" because it can be enforced only against the specific parties to the contract. A property right is multital or "in rem" because a landowner has the right to exclude not only specific people from his land but the "whole world".

The landowner has many rights, privileges, powers, and immunities; his multital rights are composed of many paucital rights. For example, the owner has a right that others do not step on his land but there is not just one such right against a mass of persons the communitybut many separate although usually identical paucital rights with this content as many instances as there are people in the community.