Kinds of Law by Sir John Salmond, Imperative, Physical, Natural Law

Sun, 08/14/2011 - 03:30 -- Umar Farooq

Sir John Salmond refers to eight kinds of law, Imperative Law, Physical (Scientific) Law, Natural (Moral) Law, Conventional Law, Customary Law, Practical (Technical) Law, International Law and Civil Law.

Imperative Law

"Imperative Law means a rule of action imposed upon mere by some authority which enforces obedience to it." In other words it is a command enforced by some superior power either physically or in any other form of compulsion.

Kinds of Imperative Law

There are two kinds of imperative law, Divine or Human.

  1. Divine laws are consists of the commands imposed by God upon men either by threats of punishments or by hope of his blessings.
  2. Human laws are the laws by analogy.

Here Sir John Salmond classifies human Laws into four sub classes.

  • Imperative Laws imposed and enforced by state (Civil Law).
  • Imperative Law imposed & enforced by members of society (Moral Law).
  • Those imposed & enforced by different institutions or autonomous bodies like universities, Airline Companies etc. they are called "autonomic law”.
  • Those imposed upon states by the society of states are called International Law.

Physical or Scientific Law

Physical Laws are expressions of the

  1. Uniformities of nature and general principles expressing the
  2. Regularity and
  3. Harmony observable in the activities and operations of universe

They are not the creation of men and cannot be changed by them. Human laws change from time to time and from country to country but physical laws are invariable forever. The uniform actions of human beings, such as law of psychology, also fall into this class. They express not what man ought to do, but what they do.

Practical or Technical Law

It consists of principles and rules for the attainment of certain ends, e.g. laws of health, laws of architecture. These rules guide us as to what we ought to do in order to attain certain ends, within this category the laws of music and laws of style.

Natural or Moral Law


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