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Discuss the Difference Between Law and Morality.

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Introduction

´╗┐LAW AND MORALS WHAT ARE LAWS AND MORALS Morality is linked to the beliefs, values and principles we hold about how we should behaviour in society. The word ?morality? itself is comes from the Latin word ?moralitas? and it covers areas such as sex before marriage, abortion, contraception and differences in sexual preferences. Morals often involve issues of ?right? and ?wrong?, however, sometimes, one person?s wrong is another?s right. A philosopher, John Mackie, argues that ?there are no objective values?, suggesting that morals are subjective in nature as they are created by human beings. Meanwhile, Laws are rules that are enforced by the Government, the Parliament, and other public bodies. They are aimed to control and direct human behaviour and they deal with many issues such as anti-social behaviours. THE BASIC NATURE OF MORALS Morals are change over time and differ from culture to culture, and from individual to individual, although nearly all the cultures are against extreme behaviours such as murder and rape. Morality often finds its roots in religion. For example, the bible provides a moral code for Christian communities and it teaches Christians what is acceptable and what is not. Meanwhile, the Koran offers a different moral code for Muslim communities and it also teaches Muslims what is and what is not acceptable. ...read more.

Middle

3. Breaches of moral rules are not usually subject to any formal adjudication, while breaches of law will be ruled on by a formal legal system, usually in the courts. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LAW AND MORALS Both Law and morality are said to be normative. This means that they both dictate the way in which people are expected to behave. Moral value can clearly have an influence on how laws are made, and some people would argue that the criminal law represents a common moral position. The moral standards of a community are recognised as having a significant influence on the development of law, but in complex societies, morality and law are never likely to be coextensive. Major breaches of a moral code, such as murder and robbery, will also be against the law, but in other matters, there may not be any meaningful consensus. The law may appear to be based on moral values, but not all laws will be accepted by everyone. The obvious example is the Abortion Act 1967. The act was introduced to ensure that women were having abortions in proper clinical conditions. At the time of the act, there was much publicity regarding horrific injuries and even death caused by back-street abortions. However, groups such as LIFE and the Association of Lawyers for the Defence of the Unborn Child contest the morality of abortion. ...read more.

Conclusion

English law continues to take this line in some cases. A strong example was the case of R v Brown (gay men took part in sad-masochistic acts. Ds were found guilty even though they gave their consent). Even then, the contradictions in law can be shown when the case is compared with R v Wilson (branding). The court of appeal accepted that a man branding his wife?s buttocks with his initials could not lead to a criminal conviction because it was consensual on the wife?s part and was entirely private matter in which the law should not intervene. THE LEGAL ENFORCEMENT OF MORALS In criminal law, morals figure very largely in the whole area of sexual offences. An example is the use of strict liability in some of the offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This was illustrated in R v G (2008). A 15 year old boy had sex with a 12 year old girl because he believed she was 15. The homicide offences and the non-fatal offences also have their roots in the moral view that it is wrong to kill or physically to harm another person with no justification. Even within these offences, the use of partial defences of murder can be seen as having a base in morality. For example, it would be wrong to convict a person of murder whose reasoning was impaired by an abnormality of the mental functioning, as with diminished responsibility under section 2 of the Homicide Act 1957. ...read more.

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