Define: Legal Realism

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Legal Realism


Full Definition of Legal Realism

A view of nature of law that legal rules are based on judicial decisions given in the interest of larger society and public policy, and not on any dogma or supernatural authority. It defines ‘legal rights’ and ‘legal duties’ as whatever the courts say they are. If carried too far, however, this view results in absurdity because a judge pondering what rights an accused has is, in fact, deciding what rights he or she (the judge) is going to let the accused have.


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Modern Language Association (MLA):
Legal Realism. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. April 06, 2020
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Legal Realism. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: April 06, 2020).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Legal Realism. Retrieved April 06, 2020, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Legal Realism are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 28th December, 2019