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Major Exponents of Natural School of Jurisprudence in a Nutshell

Natural Law has from time to time vary according to its purpose and the function to be exercised to meet the needs of the time and circumstances. Therefore, Natural Law has been evolution and development in several phases. The definition and exact meaning of natural law are not unanimous. The term Natural Law means in jurisprudence those rules and principles which should originate from a supreme source other than any worldly or political authority.

Rule of Law and Natural Law

In England and India, the Rule of Law concepts are basically based on Natural Law, but also on due process in the USA. The supporters of natural law argue that the concept of justice, right or reason has been derived from the nature of humanity and the law of the natural world. It is generally regarded with invariant content as an ideal source of law.

Major Proponents of Natural Law

John Finnis (Born 1940)

The law he defines as mainly the rules that an effective authority makes under regulatory legal regulations for the whole Community. Natural law does not consider either human nature or metaphysics. The United States Supreme Court in the Lawrence v. Texas raised the morality issue and the need for natural legislation have been addressed in Texas. Finnis has attempted to re-establish and modernly analyze and interpret natural law. He also has two major misunderstandings about natural law theory. He denies that natural law comes from objectiveness and a certain pattern of behavior but claims that the knowledge within it of innate motivation is unknown to people. Natural law does not pretend that if it contradicts moral law, a law is not law.

According to him 7 basic principles of human nature: Life, Knowledge, Play, Aesthetic pleasure, Sociability, Practical reasonableness, Religion.

Lon Fuller (1902-1978)
He rejects the idea of natural law as an authoritative high- level body and that mans behaviour should be taken into account. There can be no theory of natural law that seeks to establish an everlasting code of nature in advance. He suggests, instead, that for an old phenomenon a new name is suggested. He suggests the term ‘Eunomics’ which he defines as “the theory or study of good order and workable arrangement”. He warns Eunomics that no orthodoxy or doctrine of binding ultimate ends should be tested.

Thomas Hobbes (1558 – 1679)

According to Hobbes, a man was in a chaotic state of constant fear before the social contract. Natural life was solitary, poor, disgusting, brutal and short. In order to protect themselves and avoid misery and pain, men voluntarily contracted and gave their freedom to some of the most powerful authorities who could protect their lives and property. Hobbes was, therefore, a supporter of the rulers the absolute power and the subjects had no rights against the sovereign.

Although he suggests that the sovereign should be bound by natural law, it is only a moral duty. It would, therefore, be apparent that Hobbes used the theory of natural law to support the sovereigns absolute authority. He advocated a declared order. During the British civil war, his theory was supported by the monarch. It was, in fact, a stable and secure government. In Hobbes theory, individualism, materialism, utilitarianism and absolutism are all interwoven.

John Locke (1632 – 1704)

The state of nature was a golden age, according to Locke, only the property was unsafe. Men entered into a social contract for the purpose of protecting property. Under this contract, man has not abandoned all his rights, but only a part of them, namely to maintain order and enforce natures laws. It retained its natural rights as the rights to life, freedom and property. According to him, the integrity of the laws is primarily determined by the process used to achieve their objectives. The morality that allows law requires the fulfillment of 6 conditions: There must be general rules for guiding actions. These rules must be publicly known, The rules should be prospective in nature, which means that they should be future-oriented and not regressive.

They should be designed to be comprehensive and easy to understand, It should be compatible with other rules, They should be reasonably stable, which should not be altered too often, The objective of government and law is to uphold and protect the rights of nature. As long as the government fulfils this objective, the laws it gives are valid and binding, but when it stops doing so, its laws are invalid and the government can be overthrown. Locke pleaded for limited constitutional government. The doctrine of laissez-faire in the 19th century was the result of the freedom of an individual in matters relating to economic activities that were supported in Lockes theory. In contrast to Hobbes, who supported the state authority, Locke advocated individual freedom.

Jean Rousseau (1712 – 1778)

Rousseau pointed out that the social contract is not a historical fact, as Hobbes and Locke envisaged, but is merely a hypothetical concept. Before the so-called social contract, life was happy and equality between men existed. People united to preserve their rights to freedom and equality and to this end they gave up their rights not to a single person, i.e. to the sovereign, but to the community as a whole, whom Rousseau called general will.

It is therefore the duty of each person to obey the general will, because he directly obeys his own will. The states existence is for the protection of liberty and equality. The State and its legislation are both subject to general will and are discarded if government and law are not in compliance with general will. Rousseau promoted the sovereignty of the people. His theory of natural law is limited to the individuals freedom and equality. For him the interchangeable terms are state, law, sovereignty, general will etc.

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