Natural law is a special system of legal rules: it is a set of social and legal claims of society, facing the state and based on the idea of the existence of human natural, inalienable rights, due to its very human nature, such as the right to life, freedom, equality, the right to happiness, to fair treatment of human beings, etc.
The idea of natural law, natural rights has evolved with the development of society and the law. As noted by Professor. VA Mists, the doctrine of natural law "is almost as old as the law itself, accompanying" existing law "on all of its historic journey." And the basic meaning of the idea of natural law since its inception was that the natural rights of man is advanced as a guide, a kind of yardstick to measure the legal content of the law (written law). Another famous orator and statesman of Ancient Rome, Marcus Tullius Cicero said: "An unjust law does not create a right."
As a theory of natural law idea took shape in the XVII-XVIII centuries., Becoming an ideological weapon of the bourgeoisie against the feudal-absolutist order. The founder of the theory of natural law is recognized by Hugo Grotius (1583-1645 gg.). Later it was developed in the works of the French Enlightenment of the XVIII century. - Rousseau, Montesquieu, Diderot, Voltaire, etc. In Russia it was a supporter of Alexander Radischev.
For the classical teachings of XVII-XVIII centuries. characterized by the fact that natural rights were understood as eternal and immutable, fixed once and for all human nature.
In the XX century. natural rights have already contact with the nature of man as a social being, the subject of social networks and have been further expression in the form of socio-economic and political rights. German legal theorist and philosopher Rudolf Stammler (1856-1938 gg.) Put forward the idea of "natural law with changing content." In the literature the beginning of XX century. This approach was called "the revived natural law." (To date, the term fell out of use.)
Since then, the theory of natural law has developed along two main lines:
1) neo-Thomist theory (the newest interpretation of the medieval doctrine of Thomas Aquinas), according to which the source of the natural law is God (supporters - J. Maritain, V. Kathrein, J. Messner);
2) "secular" doctrine, which is based on the distinction of law, insisting on the existence of any written law for certain fundamental principles of ethical (natural law), based on the principle of justice.
So, among the things that characterize the maintenance and development of the doctrine of natural law, are:
a) approval of the existence of natural, eternal, inalienable and unalterable human rights, due to its very nature;
b) the distinction between right and law;
c) the idea of "natural law with changing content", which takes into account the real processes of promoting human rights, together with the development of society;
g) the existence of the various development of the natural law