Legal Norms and Other Norms

Topics: Law, Common law, Sociology Pages: 17 (6150 words) Published: December 26, 2012

Subject- Legal Methods
Submitted to- Ms Amita Punj
Submitted by- Sanya Sud
Class-1st year

National Law University, Delhi

“Custom is to the society what law is to the state.”These famous lines by Salmond beautifully express the complex relationship between legal norms and custom, a form of societal norms. While understanding the association between legal and other norms, we first must define what ‘other norms’ signify. For the purposes of this research, other norms shall include moral norms, (connoting the relation between law and morality) customary norms, (connoting the relation between law and custom) as well as religious norms (representing the relation between law and religion). Throughout, we shall assume the terms ‘law’ and ‘legal norms’ to be synonymous. We shall attempt to study the interaction between the process of law and the social sphere, and the influence of each on the other. Law cannot operate in a vacuum; it has to exist within a plethora of forces such as the force of customs, the force of morality and the force of religion. The question that arises is, does law influence social norms and conform it to what the sovereign wants, or do the social norms and notions of ideal behaviour guide the process of creation of law? Moreover, we shall relate this knowledge of the socio-legal interaction thus arrived at with specific respect to Indian law and society. A state can impose law from the top down by enacting novel obligations, as illustrated by most regulatory law, or, alternatively, law can grow from bottom up by enforcing social norms. However, there is no one fixed answer to the above dilemma, which means that the state often adheres and conforms to societal norms, but simultaneously, several situations exist where societal norms are overruled, or disregarded. Hence according to different situations, different approaches are applied by the state. Thus, the above problem can only be analysed on the basis of a criteria, or a benchmark. In this research paper, we shall use the five schools of jurisprudence as the means to study this issue of interaction between legal and other norms. 1.1 Methodology

The methodology for this research project shall be doctrinal, thus secondary sources shall be used. These include referring to books, articles and journal from a variety of sources, including libraries, online databases, newspapers and magazines. All the references have been footnoted and simultaneously cited in the bibliography. 1.2Research Questions

* Studying the relation between law and customs, law and morality, and law and religion, based on the five different schools of jurisprudence. * Studying the Indian aspect on the issue; the importance accorded to customs, religious practices and traditions in India. 1.3Chapterisation

The chapters in this research have been created on the basis of the relation of law and the other norms with respect to the five schools of jurisprudence. After the first chapter relating to the introduction, the second chapter talks about this correlation with regard to the analytical school, the third chapter relates legal and other norms according to the historical school, and the fourth using the philosophical school, and so on. Each of these chapters elaborates on the approach of each jurisprudential school with regard to social norms, and then goes on to discuss the Indian context. The seventh and last chapter is the conclusion of the research. 1.4 Scope and Limitations of research

Before we begin this research, we must clearly demarcate and define the areas of research and its purposes. The meaning of the terms, ‘custom’, ‘morality’ and ‘religion’ shall be pursued henceforth and shall be sketched out. We shall also distinguish these words from other similar concepts such as morals from morality and religion from morals.

1.4.1 Custom
Allen says, “Custom may be defined as the...
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