Law and Morals essay plan

LAW04 CONCEPTS OF LAW.

LAW AND MORALITY ESSAY PLAN.

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Law and Morality essay plan
[Intro]
Laws and morals are both types of rules. Rules exist in many contexts, a rule is a general
norm mandating or guiding contact in specific areas or activities.
What is law?
Sir John Salmond - "the body of principle recognised and applied by the state in the
administration of justice"
What are morals?
Phil Harris defines society's code of morality as "a set of beliefs, values, principles and
standards of behaviour."
As "we live in a pluralistic society, it is almost impossible to define a set of moral values"
which everyone shares universally (Durkheim)
Differences between Law and Morals
[Paragraph 1]
Origin:
Legal rules: It is possible to trace legal rules back to a source as common law for example
has been developed incrementally by judges
Moral Rules: Morality is based upon religious teachings and upbringing, peer views and
own learnings.
[Paragraph 2]
Enforcement and Breach:
Legal rules: Breaking the law result in punishment of some form
> Criminal law ­ Sanctions
> Tort ­ Damages
> Contract ­ Damages
Moral rules: A variety of sanctions may also be available of breaching moral rules; they are
however normally unenforceable
> Excommunicate
> Exclusion
> Disproval

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Paragraph 3]
Ease of Change:
Legal Rules: Technically easy to change as Parliament has the authority to pass any law
t wishes whenever it wants. However Parliament is often slow to respond to the need
for change though their avoidance is limited.
Moral Rules: Morals change gradually over time, this is only clear in hindsight when we
notice the degree of change.…read more

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Relationship between Law and Morality
[Paragraph 1]
Coincidence of Legal and Moral Rules:
They are both concerned with setting standards, which are essential for governing
society and individual's behaviour.
They distinguish between right and wrong, and they speak of duties, obligations and
responsibilities.
[Paragraph 2]
Overlap:
An overlap of laws and morals strengthens legal rules as their enforcement is seen as
more justified. When there is no overlap obedience becomes harder to defend.…read more

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Murder and Theft ­ 10 Commandments
Changes in moral values can lead to developments in the law
Rape in marriage (R v Clarke)
Abortion (Abortion Act 1967)
Homosexuality (Gay marriage legalised)
Sometimes law is introduced to promote a change of morality
Racism (Race Relations Act 1965)
[Paragraph 5]
Legal Positivism:
Belief that a law, which is made legal in the manner recognised by the legislative power
in the state, is valid irrespective of its content.
Law and morals are distinct and separate.…read more

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The minority should not be made to conform to the will of the majority when in private
(Tyranny of the majority)
Using the law to enforce moral values is undesirable because it would freeze morality at a
set point. It is also unacceptable as it infringes the freedom of the individual.
Devlin:
The law should enforce morality as immoral conduct generally causes disgust in society.
Society shares a common morality and the law should intervene to punish acts which offend
it.…read more

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