Examples of Natural Law

The Natural law it is the ethical and legal doctrine that supports the existence of certain rights inherent to the human condition, that is, they are born together with man and are prior, superior and independent of positive law (written) and customary law (custom). For instance: Plato’s fundamental rights, the ten Christian commandments.

This set of rules gave rise to a group of schools and thinkers who responded to the name of the natural law or natural law, and that he sustained his thinking on the following premises:

  • There is a supralegal framework of natural principles regarding good and evil.
  • Man is capable of knowing these principles through reason.
  • All rights are based on morality.
  • Any positive legal system that fails to collect and sanction said principles cannot be considered in effect a legal framework.

This means that there are moral principles primary, natural, which occupy an indispensable place as the basis of any human legal structure. According to this, a law that contradicts said moral principles will not be able to be observed and, furthermore, will invalidate any legal framework that supports it, in what was called Radbruch’s formula: “extremely unjust law is not true law.”

Thus, natural law does not need to be written (like positive law), but is inherent to the human condition, without distinction of race, religion, nationality, sex or social condition. Natural law is supposed to serve as interpretive basis for the other branches of law, since they are principles of a legal and legal nature, not merely moral, cultural or religious.

The first formulations Modern ideas of this idea come from the School of Salamanca and were later taken up and reformulated by the social contract theorists: Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

However, already in ancient times there were numerous background of natural law, usually inspired by divine will, or attributed to some supernatural character.

Examples of natural law

  1. The divine laws of antiquity. In ancient cultures, there was a set of divine laws that governed men, and whose unquestionable existence was prior to any type of legal order or even the provisions of the hierarchs. For example, it was said in Ancient Greece that Zeus protected the messengers and therefore they should not be held responsible for the good or bad news they carried.
  2. Plato’s fundamental rights. Both Plato and Aristotle, eminent Greek philosophers of antiquity, believed and postulated the existence of three fundamental rights that were intrinsic to man: the right to life, the right to freedom, and the right to think. This does not mean that in ancient Greece there were no murder, slavery or censorship, but it does mean that ancient thinkers saw the need for laws prior to any human collective convention.
  3. The ten Christian commandments. Similar to the previous case, these ten commandments supposedly dictated by God became the basis of a legal code for the Hebrew people of the Christian era, and then the foundation of an important tradition of Western thought as a result of the Christian Middle Ages and theocracy. that prevailed in the Europe of the time. Sins (violations of the code) were severely punished by representatives of the Catholic Church (such as the Holy Inquisition).
  4. The universal rights of man. Promulgated for the first time during the beginnings of the French Revolution, in the midst of the emergence of a new Republic free from absolutist monarchical despotism, these rights were the basis for contemporary formulations (Human Rights) and contemplated equality, fraternity and freedom as inalienable conditions of all the men of the world, without distinction of their origin, social condition, religion or political thought.
  5. Contemporary human rights. The inalienable human rights of contemporaneity are an example of natural law, since they are born together with man and are common to all human beings, such as the right to life or identity, to cite one example. These rights cannot be repealed or revoked by any court in the world and are above any law of any country, and their violation is punished internationally at any time, as they are considered crimes that never prescribe.