This paper examines the claim that law, in complex modern societies, is merely a tool or instrument of private, sectional or governmental purposes. To put matters in perspective, it considers ways in which shared tradiions, common values, emotional allegiances and convergent individual interests have been thought, by legal and social theorists, to be foundations for law - the basis of a 'common good' which law serves. The paper argues that these theoretical views remain instructive. In contemporary multicultural societies there are diverse social foundations on which law's authority and effectiveness depend. The conception of law as 'a means to an end' is not adequate to characterise these foundations

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Roger Cotterrell, ‘Is Law Just a Means to an End’ (2008) 4(1) Socio-Legal Review 1

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