Principle: a standard to be observed, because it is a requirement of justice or fairness or some other dimension of morality;
Policy: is that kind of standard that set out a goal to be reached, generally an improvement in some economic, political, or social feature of the community;
Riggs v Palmer
whether a murderer could inherit under the will of his victim; the will was validly executed and was in the murderer’s favor; and the rules of testamentary succession provided no applicable exception; the court held that a murderer could not inherit from his victim; D argues that this decision demonstrates that, in addition to rules, the law include principles;
Law as integrity
Integrity means consistency in principle with past decisions and requires retrieving that principles in precedent as the justification that best fits the institutional record.
It demands that “the public standards of the community be both made and seen, so far as this is possible, to express a single coherent scheme of justice and fairness in the right relations.”
Integrity demands that the community act in a consistent manner in applying its chosen conception of justice.
Hard and easy cases
For Dworkin, judges are always constrained by the law: there is no law beyond the law.
Dworkin’s conception of the dominion of law is of a gapless legal universe, where in every adjudication, even in the so-called ‘hard cases’, there are controlling standards which judges are obliged to follow;
The law is seamless web, in which there is always a right answer;
Dworkin admits that different judges can come to different conclusions ‘because a constitutional theory requires judgments about political and moral philosophy’. But, despite this, he maintains that judges may not rely on their own political views, but only on their beliefs in ‘the soundness of those convictions’;
One right answer
D’s model of adjudication points unequivocally to the idea that, in his pursuit of coherence and integrity, Hercules will find the best answer to the legal question before him. That answer will be the right one. And there can be only one answer that ‘fits’ most comfortably; there must therefore be only one right answer;
What is more, lawyers accept that there is only one uniquely correct result to any legal dispute. When giving advice, a lawyer bases himself on an interpretation of the law (precedents, statutes, doctrine) and this enables him to give an answer that best represents the state of law as he finds and understands it.