Pure Theory of Law Law and Legal Definition

The idea of a pure theory of law was propounded by the Austrian jurist and philosopher Hans Kelsen. According to Kelsen, the legal system must be “pure” that is, self-supporting and not dependent on extralegal values. The pure theory of law maintains that laws are norms handed down by the state. Laws are not defined in terms of history, ethics, sociology, or other external factors. A legal system is an interconnected system of norms, in which coercive techniques are used to secure compliance. The validity of each law, or legal norm, is traced to another legal norm. Ultimately, all laws must find their validity in the society’s basic norm known as grundnorm.