Legal Change: Sources of Law and Legal Culture

University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 131, No. 5 (1983), pp. 1121-1157


The most important general legal questions, it seems to me, both in theory and practice, concern, first, the nature of the relationship between a society and the legal rules that operate within it, and, second, the forces that cause law to change. The questions are obviously intimately connected. Yet so little serious scholarship — scholarship based on legal and other materials rather than on an ideologically predetermined position that dictates the conclusions — has been devoted to these questions that even deciding where to start an investigation or which lines of research to pursue presents formidable problems. My researches into the growth of the law, including the vagaries of legal development, have resulted in four related books; and none of the last three was foreseen by me when the previous one was published.

I wish in this paper to reconsider my main conclusions, especially in the light of criticism, and attempt a new synthesis.