Classifications Of Law as servant Not Master
It is important to know this. That the classifications of law are the lawyer’s servant, not his master.
With simple semantic analysis, the classifications of law are the classes or groups into which laws have been divided or segmented, according to some common relations or attributes.
Some of these classifications of law include public and private law, civil and criminal law, municipal and international law, substantive and procedural law, among others.
See also: Meaning of Motion in Law: prayer and summons
It is crystal clear that law have been so classified in order to provide for orderliness in the process of applying them to various kinds of cases.
With these classifications of law at hand, it becomes extremely easy for the lawyer, as well as the court as a whole, to know what is what, and which is which.
In other words, the classifications of law are necessary for a simple, procedural, and even rigid judicial process. The classifications of law are therefore relatively inevitable in the modern judicial and legal process.
Legal Approach: Classifications of Law as servant not Master
However, the various classifications of law should be the lawyer’s servant and not his master. This means that in legal practice, the lawyer should not be so interested in classifying the laws in a legal proceeding, that he forgets his main obligation to either justify or clear his client.
In other words, the lawyer in practice should not find it as a deliberately mandatory exercise to classify the laws in his case under the different categories.
If a lawyer does this, he is making the classifications of law his master, rather than his servant. The lawyer in practice should be able to exercise adequate and knowledgeable mental propensity in the terms of the classifications of law.
See also: Law definitions and Meaning
That is to say, a lawyer in practice knows, merely seeing the fact of a case, the classification(s) of law exhibited in that case without subjecting himself to rigorous mental engagement on classifying the laws in a case.
This is the only way a lawyer can make the classifications of law his servant, and not his master.
Reason: Classification of Law as servant not Master
The reason why a lawyer must make the classifications of law his servant, and not his master, is very simple and straightforward.
One of these reasons is that distinguishing in practice between one classification of law and the other, may not be as clear-cut as it seems to appear in theory. So, a legal case can be subject to more than one classifications of law.
When this happens, it would not be meticulously phenomenal of a lawyer to lunch into distinguishing the various classifications of law.
See also: Natural theory of Law
The reason behind these clashes among the classifications of law is that they all may address different issues that arise from the same event. of course.
Example: Classifications of Law
A very good example of the classifications of law that clashes is the civil and criminal law.
The state designs the criminal law to protect the society, whose inhabitants the civil law also safeguards as a matter compulsion.
Hence, it is not usual to find out that these two classifications of law clash in cases relating to them.
Tuberville V Savage (1669): Classifications of Law
In the case of Tuberville V Savage (1669). Savage was charged for assault by Tuberville and was convicted for the tort of assault (an indication of civil law).
The dictum of the king’s Bench, which stated the requirement for assault and reasonable provocation to assault to be considered.
This precedent was valid for both civil and criminal law for the offence of assault. This case shows, to some extent, how criminal law overlaps civil law.
See also: Pure Theory of Law
Moreover, consider the mock case between Paso and kudiowo on page seventy-seven (77). ‘Introduction to Nigerian Legal Method’, edited by Abiola Sanni.
In this case, Paso is trying to force his late brother’s wife, Kudiowo, to marry him. This is on the basis of divine and customary rules. While Kudiowo opposes the idea, stating a part of the positive law.
Classification of Law as servant, not Master: Not ideal
Here, it would not be ideal for a lawyer to dive into trying to make classifications for each addressed form of law in the scenario.
The lawyer in practice needs to go into the efficiency of more specific issues. Mere classifications of the addressed laws may be a waste of time. Yes, it would not.
The words of the Abiola Sanni put the situation thus:
“…as we can see from the foregoing, there is no water tight classification of law. For example, so much of Nigerian land law is now public law with the enactment of the Land use Act. While the law of taxation is as much private law as it is public”
Conclusion: Classifications of Law should be the Lawyer’s servant.
We can therefore conclude here that the lawyer in practice should not ultimately find interest in classifying the laws in the case before him. Or turn the act of classification into a compulsory act.
But to be so built up to the state that when he merely sees the fact of a case, he could easily infer the related classifications of law. To put them to perfect use. And even to be able to bend the law to his benefit, if need be.
Any attempt outside of this, that makes the act of classifying laws a rigorous and compulsory tack, definitely makes the lawyer a servant of the classifications of law.
See also: Differences between the Natural and Positive Theory of Law
This approach is inappropriate. Why? The classifications of law should always be the lawyer’s servant and not his master.