Three (3) Types Of Laws: Civic Education

Table Of Contents

1. Types Of Laws
2. Laws And Rights Of Individuals

Types Of Laws

The law is a system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships.

They include:
1. Divine Laws
2. National Laws
3. Human Laws.

1. Divine Laws:

They are eternal laws made by God. These are the religious laws contained in Holy Bible and the Koran. The Christian believe that the laws in the Bible are from God while the Muslims believe that the laws in the Koran are from Allah or God.

In religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, Karma or one’s activity is the belief that one’s action in this life affects him now and in future. As a divine law they are recorded in their sacred books. Vedic and upanished. These sacred books were written by the Hindus thousands of years before the birth of Christ. They contain Hindus sacret scriptures about life, spiritual and physical principles.

2. Natural Laws:

Natural laws are the laws that exist or occur in nature and not made or caused by people. For instance, the law of nature says that a child will one day grow old and die. There is also the law of night and day and seasons. In Nigeria, we have dry and rainy seasons while in America, they have winter, summer, spring and autumn. When something is planted, it will one day germinate and grow. The fruits come in certain seasons. Nobody has control over the laws of nature and they were not made by any man Therefore, they are natural forces or laws.

3. Human Laws:

Human laws are laws written down by human beings to make the human societies a safe place to live in and to ensure peaceful co-existencein the community. There are different types of human laws such as:

a. The United Nations Organization’s Charter and declarations which could be referred to as international laws.

b. Regional Charters and Declarations: An example is the laws of the African Union (AU).

c. Sub-regional charters and declarations or conventions. Examples include laws of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Lake Chad Basin Commission etc.

d. National Constitutions governing a country. Example is the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.

e. Conventions: These are approved ways of doing things though they were at no time legislated into existence. for example, men do not wear skirts.

f. Customs of a people which direct how they behave and relate with themselves and others.

g. Judicial precedents ( case laws) These are court land mark rulings or judgements arising from a higher court of competent jurisdiction and accepted as guides for actions.

h. Common Law: This is an act of parliament enacted through legislative process by elected law makers. For example the senate or House of Assembly members. It could be called statutes.

i. Pronouncements (opinions) of revered legal luminaries and spiritual adepts.

j. Delegated legislation: When the parliament gives out her duties to bodies other than the parliament to do for her.

k. Local legislation such as bye laws.

l. Sharia law which regulates the private and public life of the Mushin Ummah (community).

m. Canon Laws: This is law of the church guiding the activities and worship of christians Example is the Roman catholic Vaticaan II document of the early 1960’s.

Laws and Rights of Individuals

The law of our land grants certain rights to individuals. Even people who are alleged to have offended the laws of the state or are accused of doing something wrong are entitled to their rights until it is proved that they are guilty of the allegations.

Some of these rights are:

1. An accused person under arrest has the right to remain silent as whatever he says could be used against him in court.

2. An accused person has the right to be alive until he is condemned. He should not be lynched by a mob.

3. He is entitled to fair hearing and judgement in court.

4. He has the right to be defended by a lawyer no matter the degree of the offence he committed. If he cannot afford a lawyer the state should give him one.

5. Every citizen whose fundamental human rights have been trampled upon has a right to seek redress in court.

6. Two parties in court have the right to withdraw the case and settle out of court.

7. An accused person has a right of an appeal against an unfavourably judgement.

8. A suspect is not allowed to be in detention for more than 48 hours without being tried in a competent law court.

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