Lipstick law, or: the three forms of statutory law

Marieke Hopman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Legal scholars often distinguish between de jure rules and de facto situations to explain certain legal situations. However, in some instances this distinction might obscure the legal understanding of these legal situations. In particular, the distinction leaves out often occurring instances in which there is a difference between formal, written law and (rule-based) policy actively pursued by the legislator, both when this is and is not publicly known. In the current article, I propose to replace the de jure/de facto understanding of the legal order by a new conceptual framework for the understanding of statutory law. I will argue that statutory law within the legal order can appear in three different forms: (1) written formal law, (2) law for the community and (3) non-public law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-66
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2017


  • Statutory law
  • legal pluralism
  • legal philosophy
  • theory of law

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