Law and morals Part A Law has been defined by Sir John Salmons as the body of principles recognized and applied by the state in administration of Justice. There are two theories on what law Is, the natural law theory and the positivist law theory Lloyd a natural law theorist defined the law as the constant assertion that there are objective moral principles which depend upon the natural of the universe and can be discovered by reason Natural law theorists believe that for law to be valid It must coincide with natural law.
Natural law theorist Aristotle describes natural law to be the law of nature. Positivist law theorists such as John Austin would describe law as ‘a law which exists to be law though we happen to dislike It’ positivists such as Jeremy Beneath rejected natural law theories, he describes them as ‘nonsense on stilts’ his key argument was that natural law was based on principles that could not be proved. Legal positivists believe that a law that is made In a manner recognized by the sovereign power of the state is valid irrespective of its content.
Legal rules have many different characteristics. For example breach of legal rules can result in state sanctions and reoccurred – a S. 47 PAPA 1861 offence carried and a maximum sentence of 5 years. Compliance is not a matter of choice when it comes to legal rules. These rules are imposed upon all members of society. Compulsory compliance applies to judge made decisions as well. The case of R v R established that man could be found guilty of raping his wife, this was a Judge made law.
Fuller would argue that this is not valid law as it is retrospective. Legal rules are made and take affect at a precise time. A precedent is created in the Judgment of case and it applies to future cases and rower courts. The legislation will only start to take effect at a precise time for example the Smoke Free Premises and Enforcement Regulations , implemented a ban on smoking in public places , were made on 13th December 2006 but came in to effect on the 1st of July 2007.
Phil Harris defines society ‘Morality as a set of beliefs, values, principles and standards of behavior. Compliance with moral rules is voluntary, so people have a choice as to whether or not they follow these. People make personal decisions as to what they consider moral and immoral. Moral duties of Individuals ray. For example some people may believe that abortion is immoral while others consider It acceptable. Moral rules develop gradually. They often stem from religious rules made thousands of years ago.
Over time, what society once considered Immoral, can become acceptable. For example attitudes towards homosexuality continue to change Moral rules are enforced Informally , usually through social or domestic pressure for example John terry lost his title as the England football team captain because of his Infidelity Sir John Salmons describes the relationship teen law and morality as two Intersecting circles, with the Intersection representing laws with moral values and the separate areas for laws and morals with no connection.
Many laws have a moral connection such as the law against murdering another person this can be traced back to religious scriptures such as the 10 Commandments and is punishable by a mandatory life sentence Public morality can influence changes in the law, like abortion was legalized by the Abortions Act consenting adults as society changed to accept homosexuality the more law has followed this change by reducing the age of consent to make it the same for trousseaux couples in 2000. Law reform may result from a campaign to change public morality. Howard league for penal reform persuaded the government to take a look at capital punishment.
The government refused to change the laws because society considered death penalty to be morally correct. Subsequently a pressure group was set up, during the years of 1955-1957 public opinion was changed by the campaign; and the government introduced laws to abolish the death penalty Public morality can be influenced by law reform such as the Disability Discrimination Act 995 as by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, which makes it against the law to discriminate against disable people in any areas of employment, education, access to goods, facilities and services and the function of public authorities.
It can be argued that legislation is introduced to with the aim of educating the public to recognize morally wrong behavior. Thus demonstrating the convergence between the two Some legal rules appear to have no moral connection. Like the fact that smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol is legal but cannabis is illegal. Road traffic laws such as irking on a yellow line. In Britain there is no Good Samaritan law, however we all have a moral duty to help those around us if they are in danger.
For example a passer-by will not be legally held responsible if they don’t help someone drowning. But they do have a moral duty to help them this was shown in 2007 when 2 Peso’s were subjected to bad media and moral outcry when they failed to help a drowning boy. The reason for divergence between moral and legal rules is that the moral attitude might not me widespread and they may not reflect popular morality The UK as a large multicultural, multiracial society, with citizens with different views on politics and religion.
For example some people regard abortion as immoral while others see it as acceptable for medical reasons only at the second reading of the human fertilization and embryology bill on may 20th 2008 MSP voted against reducing the current 24 weeks abortion limit to 20 weeks. Therefore demonstrating that although there is a relationship between Law and Morality it will always be partial. Art B The wolfed report was issued in 1957; it was set up to consider the law relating to nonsexual acts & prostitution, also to see the function of the criminal law in such cases. The committee said the function of the law is to pressure public order and decency and to protect citizens from what is offensive or injurious and to provide sufficient safeguards against exploitation and corruption of others, particularly those who are vulnerable.
The function of the committee is not to intervene in private life of citizens or to enforce any particular pattern of behavior. The committee made three proposals which were, homosexual acts between two concerting adults should e made legal, soliciting in the streets should be made an offence and selling of services for money should be a private matter. The Hart and Devils debate was prompted by the wolfed report by the wolfed report. The focus of the debate was the extent to which the law can enforce moral rules.
Lord Devils set out his view in a book (the enforcement of morals, with Hart setting up his views in his own book that the minority should not be made to conform to the view of the majority when in private. Sir James Stephen argued in his book liberty, equality, fraternity (1874) that o shouldn’t attempt to distinguish between self-regarding act and acts which regards others is like an attempt to distinguish between acts which happen in time and acts that may happen in space.
The wolfed report supported Harts view that law and morality should be separate, however various cases decided since the report show that Judges are imposing their moral views on their Judgments, for example R v Brown. This is an example of how moral change led to legal change. Devil’s views are in line with those of Sir James Stephen, as Devils believed that individual privacy should be respect.