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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law [MPECCoL]

Natural Law Theories and Constitutionalism

Fernando Simón Yarza

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 18 June 2019

Subject(s):
Common law — Comparative constitutional law — Constitutions and amendments — Natural law

Published under the direction of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law.
General Editors: Rainer Grote, Frauke Lachenmann, Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1. The theory of natural law defends that the ethical foundations of law are prior to, and independent of, the will of men, and that there are certain universal and rational principles of justice which every law must respect and promote in order to be legitimate. This theory denies neither the necessity of positive law nor the duty to obey it. On the contrary, it justifies both, since it is a foundational and a critical theory. As a foundational theory, it sets the grounds for the need for positive law and the duty to obey it on principles of practical reason. As...
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