Introduction with Natural Law Theory:

Natural Law school is not an independent school. It has a deep concern with the historical, analytical school. The main contents of this theory are that it has been interpreted differently at different times depending on the needs of the developing legal thought but the greatest attribute of the Natural law theory is its adaptability to meet new challenges of the transient society.

According to the propounder of this theory says that Law is a product of the straight-thinking of human mind.


he duly asserts that the positivist authority should be obeyed but not blindly and it ought to be subject to criticism if deserve so.


He was in the view that each individual is given the best suitable role by reason of his capacity and abilities.

Thomas Aquinas (Roman Thinker):-

He means that Natural Law is a part of Divine Law. This part is applied by human beings to govern their affairs and relations.

Thomas Hobbes (Roman Thinker):-

According to him that there should be an absolute authority that should govern and control the affairs of human beings in the reciprocal transmission of concern with every span of life.

Rousseau (Roman Thinker):

He held that there two types of will:

1. The will of individual and

2. General will.

The authority through his rule must respect both and in the administration of the rule-making process. These will should be reflected.

Definition of Natural Law:-

From the jurisprudence point of view, Natural law is not a body of actual enacted or interpreted law enforced by courts, It is in fact a way of looking at things with a humanistic approach of Judges and Jurists.

It embodies within it a host of ideals such as morality, justice, reason, good conduct, freedom, equality, liberty, ethics, and so on. The phrase Natural Law has a flexible meaning. The chief characteristic feature of natural law may be briefly stated as follows:-

i) It is basically a priori method that is different from the empirical method. It used to stress upon a cause and effect relationship between the facts on the verge of logic.

ii) It symbolizes the physical law of nature-based on moral ideals which has universal applicability at all places and times.

iii) It has often been used either to defend a change or to maintain status-quo according to the needs of the time.

iv) The concept of Rule of law in England and India and due process in the USA are essentially based on Natural Law philosophy.

also, read the definition of  Law

Modern Natural Law theories:-

The following are the three main thinkers who contribute to the Modern Natural Law theories:-

1. Stammler:-

He was much more influence by Positive Law. He says that” all positive law is an attempt at just law”

with regard to the will and purpose of the law-maker should have the proper understanding and knowledge of the actual social world or social reality. Various a time in his concept he inter-changeable used the word will with the purpose and he concludes that it is the will of the people which enable them to secure their purpose under social reorganization.


His thoughts were influenced by Hegel. According to him, Law is the standard of conduct which is a consequence of the impulse of human beings that urges him towards a reasonable form of life.

It also derives its validity from the moral and ethical standards in society. So that he laid down stress upon the moral and cultural development of society.

3. John Finnis:

Finnis also is a very famous jurist of the present century. He has given the definition and place to natural law.

According to him, Natural Law is the set of principles of practical reasonableness in ordinary human life and human community. He sets up the proposition that there are certain basic goods for human beings.

He lists them as under:-

i) Life:- The term life signifies every aspect of vitality in good shape for self-determination.

ii) Knowledge: Knowledge is a process of knowledge of unknown with the help of sense.

iii) Sociability of Friendship:- Doing something best for the sake of one’s friend’s purposes, one’s well being.

iv) Role:- It is the expression of the status of human beings in the practical form such role is protected and recognized by law.

v) Religion:- Question of the origins of cosmic order and of human freedom and reason expressed thus this view is good that even an ethicist can value.

vi) Practical reasonableness:- This is the logical expression of the ideas and decisions in practical circumstances. This the measurement of just or unjust in a real situation.

Despite the merits of Natural Law philosophy it has been criticized for its weakness on the following grounds.

 Demerits of the Natural Law:-

i) Moral proposition i.e. ought to be may not always necessarily conform to the needs of the society.

ii) The concept of morality is a varying content changing from place to place, therefore it would be futile to think of universal applicability of the law.

iii) The rules of morality embodied in natural law are not amendable to changes but legal rules do need a change with changing of the society.

iv) Legal disputes may be settled by law courts but disputes relating to morals and law of nature cannot be subjected to judicial scrutiny.


The brief survey of the theories of Natural law reveals that its concept has been changing from time to time.

You might be interested in reading –  Stanford encyclopedia- Natural law theory



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