Interpreting Aspects of Santi Romano’s Institutional and Pluralistic Theory of Law in India (Part I)

Date01 March 2022
AuthorPratyush Kumar
Published date01 March 2022
Subject MatterReview Essay
Interpreting Aspects
of Santi Romano’s
Institutional and
Pluralistic Theory of
Law in India (Part I)1
The recent translation of a veritable Italian legal scholar Santi Romano’s work
L’ordinamento Giuridico into English as The Legal Order brings his institutional
theory of law and a plurality of legal orders into focus in the English-speaking
world and the Common Law (or nearly so) legal systems. In a vastly pluralistic
society with as many institutions all across its length and breadth, India gives
inherent significance to Romano’s institutional theory of law resting on a plurality
of legal orders. In the preface of The Legal Order, Martin Loughlin writes:
Santi Romano’s book on The Legal Order is an example of the innovative jurisprudence
of the period [1880s-1920s, added]. It is of the rst importance because it provides
the most rigorous account of the institutional theory of law that emerged at that time.
Yet Romano’s innovative contribution to legal scholarship has failed to attract much
attention in the English-speaking world. Notwithstanding its appearance in German,
French, Spanish and Portuguese, it was never translated into English. For this reason
alone, the present publication of The Legal Order is to be greatly welcomed, not
least because it might encourage a new generation of legal scholars to reect on the
signicance of institutional jurisprudence. At a time when institutional theories are
gaining renewed attention and scholarly debates over the plurality of legal orders has
assumed a heightened intensity, the publication of this study in English reminds us of
how much English-language scholarship has lost through the relative inaccessibility of
Romano’s work. (Loughlin, 2017, pp. xi–xii)
Santi Romano’s definition of the above-mentioned work was precise to the point
of including even the mafia as a legal order of its own, though working counter to
the different institutional legal orders of the state. He writes in his Principles of
General Constitutional Law [Principi di diritto costituzionale genérale] how
‘[a]n illegitimate legal system is a contradiction in terms. Its existence and its
legitimacy are one and the same thing’ (d’Entrèves, 1967, p. 147; Romano, 1946,
pp. 192–193). Reading Santi Romano’s2 work L’ordinamento Giuridico in India
is both interesting and eminently rewarding. Though it would raise few preliminary
concerns of how ‘far’ it can be read and ‘how far’ is it from India spatially,
Review Essay
Indian Journal of Public
68(1) 139–150, 2022
© 2022 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561211072339

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