Natural Law: Modern


On successful completion of this module you should be able to demonstrate

LO1: Knowledge of the themes of natural law jurisprudence, and the nature of modern philosophies of natural law

LO3: Thinking skills

  1. Identify and articulate natural law explanations and critiques of legal issues
  2. Comprehend natural law materials
  3. Apply natural law reasoning and research to generate appropriate responses to legal issues

Learning resources

Ratnapala, 187–228

Selected Reading 6.1: L Fuller, ‘Positivism and Fidelity to Law: A Reply to Professor Hart’ (1958) 71 Harvard Law Review 630, 648-57.  Please read only pages 648-57.

Prepare all three questions:

  1. What are the similarities and differences between the way that  Locke,  Finnis and Fuller describe the connection between law and morality  ?
  2. Recall Question 5 in Exercise 5.  Would Fuller’s  natural law theory consider that the Nazi citizenship decree (that was addressed in Oppenheimer v Cattermole [1976] AC 249, 278) could not be recognised as a law at all?
  3. Read Selected Reading 6.1 (pages 648-57 only).  Summarise the nature of the Nazi-era statutes that Fuller recounts.  Why does Fuller refuse, in relation to Nazi statutes,  to use terms such as immoral, wrong, or   unnatural ?  

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