Case That Illustrates The Application Of Natural Law

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In this assignment, being the proposing team, this House believes that natural law is superior to secular law. Before considering the grounds as to why we strongly believe that natural law is superior to secular law, we shall first understand what natural law is. Natural law is considered to be superior to and goes beyond laws made by man for themselves. This is so as natural law consists of higher principles that are immutable and eternal.

Natural law is based on human reasoning in coming to understand how one should act rightly in respect of his fellow man. In other words, natural law is “discovered” by humans through the use of reason and it is through this reasoning that one will be able to ascertain the truth. Socrates is of the belief that man is able to understand the absolute and eternal law as man possesses insight and this insight reveals to him the goodness and badness of thing.

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Whereas Aristotle states that man is a part of nature in two ways. One is humans are part of the creatures of God. Second, humans possess active reason. Aristotle also emphasizes that values should be discovered by the application of reason. Thomas Aquinas’s central thesis is the hypothesis where there is a relation between means and ends. Natural phenomena have certain consequences and thus law consists of a means of achieving an end. All finite things move towards their ends by the development of their potentialities. Natural law is the fruit of rational human observation of an order. Man has basic impulses towards self-preservation and man can decide what is good by reflecting on his own impulses and nature. Natural law has indeed been applied and there are two cases that can illustrate this application of natural law. The first case is the case of Corbett v Corbett which concerns a married couple. What is unique about this case is that the ‘wife’ in the present case is actually a male at birth who had undergone a sex operation.

Although this marriage was entered into by the petitioner knowing that his ‘wife’ had undergone a sex operation, he eventually filed a petition wanting to annul the marriage. In this case, the court allowed the marriage to be annulled. The court in delivering the judgment based his view on the biological aspect of marriage which is known as the very basis of marriage. The basis of marriage should be between a man and a woman and this element is lacking in this case as it is a marriage between a man and a person who had undergone a sex operation. It is based on this factor alone that the judge had allowed the marriage to be annulled. Another case that can show that natural law has been applied in the case of In re B (A minor).

In this case, a female baby was born with Down syndrome and also had her intestine blocked. The probability of the child to continue living without an operation to remove the intestinal blockage would only be a few days. Even if the operation was performed, the child was predicted to live only at most up to 30 years of age. The parents of the child didn’t want the operation to be performed on their child. The local authority, wanting to save the child obtained a court order to go ahead with the operation. However, the doctor who is scheduled to perform the operation had refused to continue with the operation as he wanted to respect the wishes of the child’s parents.

The local authority then appealed the case to the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and gave an order for the operation to be carried out. In both of the cases above, we can see the principles of natural law which are procreation and prolife being applied to the cases. In this assignment, under the first part, all three speakers’ submission will be included. The submissions will focus on discussing why we strongly believe that natural law is indeed superior to secular law. Following, under the second part, the rebuttals to the grounds put forward under the first part would be considered. Lastly, we will reinforce and critically put forward our thoughts as to why we still believe that natural law is superior to secular law despite the points raised in the rebuttal.

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