Applicability Of Natural Law Principles To The Law Of Negligence In Nigeria
The essence of creation of man in any environment is to interact, relate and have dealings with each other, in these relationships, certain level of moral standards is expected to be maintained which has necessitated the need for a guiding of conduct.
Hence, the introduction of the law which is regarded as rules, and principles set out in order to streamline the activities of man with each other.
Natural law theory emphasizes that, law has a divine or supernatural origin and for human laws to be legally valid, they must conform to nature of man and dictates of reason. Human laws should stand or fall according to the dictates of the latter, just as the sun is ordained to rise from the the east.
Also, as it is unavoidable that a man should interact with one another , the law of Negligence presumes the existence of a duty of care towards each other, it is however of no doubt that acts and omissions are bound to arise from such interactions which may result into unforeseen damages especially , when negligence is involved.
Thus, in the course of this work, effort will be geared towards focusing on how the natural law can be embedded into the modern law of negligence i.e the law as it is and the law as it ought to be. By so doing, a framework for harmonizing the two laws would have been provided.
It is undeniable that the philosophy and principle of natural law with the doctrine of the social contract are of immense value to the human race. As Lord Lloyd pointed out, natural law calls human attention to the near universal principles which must of necessity underlies the qualities of human laws and human institutions in historical and cultural perspectives. The idea has played a prominent part in thought and history, it has long been considered as the ultimate measure of right and wrong. Its outstanding feature has been the way in which it has been utilized, not so much to explain any given legal system, but to fulfill the special needs of the ages.
Thus, Chapter one of this project work focuses on setting out the insights into the body of the work, it encompasses the background, objectives, focus and the scope of the study. Also, the diverse views, contributions and opinions of various writers is considered.
There are certain objective moral standard which depend upon the nature of the universe and which can be discovered by reason, this is valid because, the rules governing correct human behaviour are logically connected with truth concerning human nature. This is regarded as the general connotation of natural law.
Therefore, Chapter two sets out in an appreciable manner the definition and history of natural, it exhibits the list of early philosophers and proponents of natural law by laying the needed foundation for recognizing the relevance of the law in the Nigeria legal system while it is being juxtaposed with the positive law.
As it is of course no doubt that the doctrine of law of negligence is recognized as part of the Nigeria legal system, the existence of negligence as a separate tort with a distinct set of principles is undeniable and it is easily the important tort of all. In other to protect the interests of others against the risks of certain harm by others, the law prescribes certain minimum standard of behaviour and if from the failure to observe this standard harm ensues, this is actionable negligence.
Chapter Three emphasizes on the general view about law of negligence, it gives in an indepth but concise manner the practical applicability of the law with the aid of decided cases.
The last Two Chapters of this research which makes up the bulk of the thesis outlines the relevance of the natural law principles to the law of negligence, the interwoven nature of the two laws and of course, the general applicability to Nigeria situation. This part also represents the concluding note of this thesis with the recommendation of the researcher.
Conclusively, it flows from this research that, it is a fact beyond what any man can claim not to be true though he may not actually have been thoughtful of it that, the natural law theory notwithstanding the angle through which it is being perceived still remains the fundamental source which law of negligence draws its existence and its continuous existence in Nigeria particularly the duty of care principle .
If the perception of the divine nature of the moral law is dimmed, people cannot build a true and lasting communion with another. This is as a result of the fact that, when a correspondence between the truth and good is lacking whether culpably or not, our acts damages the communion of person to the detriment of each other.
Natural law undoubtedly has been recognized as the required standard for directing all human endeavours just as the law of negligence is recognized as inevitable in as much the possibility of forseable harm cannot be ruled out among individuals. Thus, what makes a law important from a practical point of view is always of interest. Human well-being and the flourishing of the individual requires a legal system which will exemplify “rule of law ” as derived from the natural law. The rules of such a system would ensure clear, coherent, stable regulations and accountability of those who administer the law are carried out in a manner which is seen to be consistent with promulgated principles.
Natural law being coeval with mankind and dictated by God himself is of course superior in obligation to any other times; no human law are of any validity if contrary to this, and such of them as are valid, derive all their force and authority mediate or immediate from this original. I therefore humbly recommend as follows;
- There should be a universal respect for the principles underlying a legal structure in conformity with the moral order because it is a necessary condition for the stability of international life.
- A perception of the divine nature of our moral law should be staged.
- In order to achieve the aim of enacting positive laws, the principles upon which such laws are to be based should de derived from the divine law which cannot by any means be overhauled.
Thus, this project work is humbly recommendable as a substantial reference work for both academic and practical purpose.
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