Darwin’s Theory in Legal Profession

Some ideas are capable enough to change world; one of such ideas or theories was Charles Darwin’s theory, which defines the ‘survival of the fittest.” This theory is no applicable in science field, but also keeps importance in the field of law.

Darwin and His Theory

Born on 12 February 1809, Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist, biologist, and geologist; however, he became popular because of his contributions to evolutionary biology.

He proposed that that all species of life have descended from a common ancestor, which later accepted and considered a fundamental concept in science. Because of his evolutionary theory, he has been regarded as one of the most influential personalities in human history and was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey.

Basically, the term natural selection defines the differential survival and reproduction of individuals, which happens because of differences in phenotype. It is believed that during the process of evolution, the change in the heritable traits characteristic of a species is incumbent over the generations. Charles Darwin observed this concept and tried to explain the concept of "natural selection."

Darwin, under the heading of “natural selection” tried to define the principle by which each slight variation in a trait, if useful, is preserved. It means, the organism that is more adapted to their environment, is likely to survive and reproduce. Darwin further says that as long as there is possible heritable variation between them, there will be an inevitable selection of individuals with the most advantageous variations. Likewise, if the variations are heritable, then differential reproductive success leads to the evolution of particular populations of a species. As a result of such heritable variations, the evolved populations are sufficiently different and eventually become different species.

Application Darwin’s Theory in Legal Profession

As we have discussed above that Darwin's theory of natural selection suggests that organisms that are better adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and pass on their traits to future generations. This principle can also be applied in the legal context as Darwin’s theory help in −

Understanding the evolution of the legal system

Based on Darwin's theory of evolution, the legal system has evolved over time in response to changing societal needs and values. A lawyer who understands the Darwin’s principle of evolution may have a better understanding of how the legal system has developed and why certain laws and legal concepts have changed over time.

Adapting to changing legal landscapes

As Darwin's theory emphasizes the importance of adaptation to changing environments; similarly, a lawyer who can adapt to changing legal landscapes possibly more successful in their practice. For example, a lawyer who can quickly learn about new laws or regulations and adapt their practice accordingly may be more successful than a lawyer who is resistant to change.

Understanding the importance of evidence

Darwin's theory is fundamentally based on empirical evidence, which is gathered through observation and experimentation. Similarly, a lawyer who understands the importance of evidence in making arguments may be more effective in their practice. For example, a lawyer who can present strong evidence in support of their client's case may be more successful than a lawyer who relies on speculation or guesswork.

Appreciating diversity

Darwin's theory emphasizes the importance of diversity in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Similarly, a lawyer who understands and appreciates diversified nature of their clients, colleagues, and society may be more effective in their practice. For example, a lawyer who can understand and work effectively with clients from different backgrounds may be more successful than a lawyer who is less culturally sensitive.


As we have discussed with substantial facts and examples, Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection does have a significant impact in legal profession and on a lawyer's life, as it helps in shaping their understanding of the legal system, their ability to adapt to changing legal landscapes, their appreciation of evidence-based arguments, and their sensitivity to diversity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. What is meant by Darwin’s theory of survival of fittest?

Ans. The concept describes that only a strong and fit person can survive in this world.

Q2. How does Darwin’s theory affect a lawyer’s life?

Ans. The main principles of Darwin’s theory are change and adaptation; similarly, for a successful career in legal field, a lawyer also always need to appreciate the change.

Q3. What is required in the understanding of society’s development?

Ans. In the understanding of society’s development, prima facie, one needs to understand the natural changes and the reason of such changes through observation and experience.

Q4. What is the major effect of Darwinism on legal philosophy?

Ans. The major effect of Darwinism on legal philosophy, as we can perceptibly observe that earlier (especially in Western philosophy), it is emphasized on “superiority of the fixed and final” and little attention is paid on changing nature of law. Darwinism changed this concept.

Updated on: 09-May-2023


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