The Difference Between Natural Law and Legal Positivism Essay example

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL LAW AND LEGAL POSITIVISM This essay is going to discuss and analyse the differences between two basic principles- natural law and legal positivism. According to Hume, there are two realms of human enquiry , one in the field of facts which is concerned with what ‘ is ‘ actually the case and the other in the field of ‘ought’ that is, what ought to be the case1. Those who believe in the principle of natural law are known as naturalists while those who believe in the principle of legal positivism or ‘positive law’ are known as positivists. This is a brief overview of the two principles of
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This is the major difference between positivist and natural law thinkers. Natural law is the combination of laws and morals while legal positivism is the seperation of laws and morals. Legal positivism declares that morality is irrelevant to the identification of what is valid law and that the criteria for the validity of a legal rule or law in a society is that it has the warrant of the sovereign and will be enforced by the sovereign and its agents. Raz, a positivist, stated that ‘the validity of a law can never depend on its morality’ 6 Positive law or positivism is
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www.iep.utm.edu/legalpos/ [April 17 2001][accessed 4th November 2012] Plato.standford.edu/entries/legal-positivism/ [2003][accessed 4th November 2012] 6 Joseph Raz The Authority Of Law: Essays On Law And Morality(1979)p. 47

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different from natural law because ‘ it calls for a certain measure of regularity of observance for without this feature, it would hardly be entitled to rank as law at all. A natural law on the other hand may stll be held to be valid even if it is never or scarcely even observed.’7 Legal positivism will only work in a community where it is widely accepted. Hart suggested that the legal system is a ‘closed’ logical system where decisions may be deduced by logic. For
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