Positive Law and Natural Law

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Positive Law and Natural Law are two extremes on a gliding skill, they both express a fundamentally different idea on what law should be or how we should organize just behavior

In the case of positive Law, we assume that law can only be law once it’s written down when it’s codified, we need basically legal texts to understand how we can organize just behavior and before that, the law simply doesn’t exist. An opposing view is that of natural law, in the case of natural law, we assume that law is already out. It is a standard thing that one can figure out through simple thinking and hence, does not need to be in writing. An example of that would be helpful, in this case, to understand it properly. What about human rights law? We assume that everyone has the basic human right to lead a life with dignity. We don’t necessarily have to write this first. We assume that this is only a natural state of affairs. It is written or not, is irrelevant. We all simply have human rights for the simple fact that we are human beings.

Positive Law and Natural Law are two distinct ideas on law, and they both have their pros and cons. The pro of Positivist Law, for instance, is that we have a great deal of legal certainty. We truly understand what the Law is because we can simply read it and we can reasonably predict the outcome, the legal outcome of our behavior because we can actually read what we consider to be Law? The obvious con of Positive Law is that if we need legal texts to understand what’s right and wrong, we might lose ourselves into text in these text a little bit and we may forget that there are such things as fundamental rights and fundamental things we assumed to be natural. For that, of course, we have natural law.

The obvious pro of natural law is that we don’t need written text to understand what’s right because it’s simply right or wrong, and we can all act accordingly. The obvious disadvantage of natural law as then it might lead to legal uncertainty because it can also be a little bit of vague. I mean, what does dignity exactly mean, we just don’t know, maybe it’s different for culture or situation of country, but it can also lead to difficult interpretations.

Therefore, both have pros and cons. Both interpretations are most of the times are used in a society to create legislation. For instance, in most societies we have written codes or case law that is written down to understand what law should be but at the same time, we also have such things as fundamental principles and so on and so on. We simply use in our understanding of law they are not necessarily written down but we do use them.