Reconstructing the Category of Sources of Law

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No. 6, 2021


Reconstructing the Category of Sources of Law



Lei Lei


For a long time, discussions on the category of sources of law have been complex and the category itself has become entangled with other similar categories. At the jurisprudential level, the theory of the sources of law proceeds from the perspective of legal application, and strives to find and justify the legally binding normative basis for adjudication. Correspondingly, sources of law provide the source of grounds for judgment in the process of adjudication and furnish authoritative reasons in legal argumentation. The sources of law are of two types: sources of validity and sources of cognition. The former is dominant in adjudicative activities, while the latter must be recognized by and combined with the former in order to be effective. Such a definition can not only effectively distinguish sources of law from other normative materials (reasons for judgment), but can also properly define the relationship between sources of law and the other two categories of law and forms (manifestations) of law. On this basis, we can accurately analyze the status of various sources of contemporary Chinese law.