This paper offers a historical-conceptual reconstruction of Hans Kelsen’s theory of legal interpretation. My aim is threefold: first, shed light – through Kelsen’s critique to it – on the real nature of formalism in legal interpretation of XIX century; second, understand whether this theory can fit to what H.L.A. Hart called «rule-scepticism» or to his theory of open texture – the most influential views in the current debate on legal interpretation –; third, try to solve that puzzle consisting in the full validity of a judicial decision lying «outside the frame represented by the norm to be applied» – a claim that not only appears a contradiction in itself, but that has raised many questions of compatibility with the entire pure theory of law.
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