85 J.L. Pol'y & Globalization 1 (2019)

handle is hein.journals/jawpglob85 and id is 1 raw text is: 

ISSN 2224-3240 (Paper) ISSN 2224-3259 (Online)  DOI: 10.7176/JLPG
Vol.85, 2019                                                                                         US5

   Jurisprudential Doctrines on the Nature of Law and Impact on

                        Contemporary Global Legal Systems

                                         Akani, Nnamdi  Kingsley
            Ph.D, Member,  Governing Council, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Rivers State

Law, like every other social concept, is not amenable to a straight-jacketed definition. This is because the concept
has been defined by philosophers, jurists, scholars and commentators from variegated sets of backgrounds which
reflect in the positions canvassed and claims made about law. It is not in dispute, and there seems to be an unusual
unanimity among  scholars, that law is a tool for the maintenance of law and order, peace and stability, as well as
the regulation of the behavior and activities of human beings in the society. However, the controversy surrounding
the meaning of law is one that has raged on from antiquity and even till today, the argument rages on. In the course
of intellectual efforts to define law, several viewpoints have emerged. These viewpoints are what are known as the
theories of law or schools ofjurisprudence. Among these, natural law, legal positivism, realist theory, pure theory,
sociological theory, historical theory and the economic law theory are the most prominent. The present paper seeks
to expound the various jurisprudential doctrines or schools on what law truly is. In doing this, the paper presents
the basic arguments or claims made by  each school of jurisprudence regarding the notion of law, their major
strengths and contributions to the Nigerian legal system and those of the contemporary world, as well as the major
weak  points of the theories. The paper argues that no one theory is self-sufficient; no single theory has been able
to offer a satisfactory explication of the concept of law free from objections. There is no legal system that can
survive by complete reliance on the views of a particular theory. It concludes that each theory has something to
contribute to the development of the legal system and that the complete picture of law can only be achieved when
the views, strengths and weaknesses of all the schools of jurisprudence are synthesized.
Keywords:   Jurisprudential, Doctrines, Nature, Law, Impact, Contemporary, Global Legal Systems.
DOI:  10.7176/JLPG/85-01
Publication date:May  31st 2019

1. Introduction
Law  is a necessity in every human society. Wherever human beings congregate as a society, there must of necessity
be the need for a system of regulating conduct or behaviour if such society will not relapse into the metaphorical
state of nature where Hobbes described life as short, nasty, solitary and brutish. Law is the instrument for the
stability of the human institution. Soyinka asserts that the need for some form of orderliness, stability and peace
in nature transcends the human family or circle.I According to the erudite social and political commentator, even
the lower animals, the so-called brutes, have some rules to live with.2 Thus, there is some kind of system or codes
of cohabitation that regulate the conduct and relations between individuals and groups within the communities of
bees, ants, geese or fishes.3 This underscores the need and absolute inevitability of law in the ordering of human
relations, or to the survival of any animal species, including man.
     Law is the cement, the brick or the mortar that holds society together. Remove law from the society of humans
and it will slide into anarchy and into extinction. Ordinarily, man may not need law if he could exist alone. But it
is not in the nature of man to stay aloof. Man is not only a political animal as theorised by Aristotle. Man is also a
social animal and his desire for law stems from his gregarious nature. According to Aristotle, only a beast or a god
could live outside a political community and free from the protective covering of government. Essentially, man
was  created to congregate with his kind, which throws up the potential for friction, conflicting interests and
conflicts. These conflicts need to be resolved for the stability of the human society.
     Law functions as an instrument for the balancing of conflicting interests in the society, for distributing rights,
privileges and obligations and duties. It is the instrument for achieving social cohesion and engineering in the
society. Plato argued that law is not needed in the human society.5 His reasons are that laws can never issue an
injunction binding on every person which really embodies what is best for each person. He argues that law lacks
the pinpoint precision and accuracy to correctly prescribe what is good and right for each community of human
beings at any one time.6 This, according to Plato, is due to the differences in human personality, preferences,
activities and the restless inconstancy of all human affairs which combine to deprive law of the immanent ability

'W Soyinka, 'Constitution and Continuity' in Path to People's Constitution (Lagos: Committee for the Defence of Human Rights 2000) 13.
2W Soyinka (n 1)13.
4Aristotle, Politics (B Jowett(tran), New York: Random House 1943) 54.
O  N Ogbu Modern Nigerian Legal System (2nd edn, Enugu: Cidjap Press 2009) 13.
6 Ibid.


Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization


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