• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Nature of Law in Society

Extracts from this document...


The nature of Law in Society Law is the binding rules of conduct meant to enforce justice and prescribe duty or obligation, and derived largely from custom or formal enactment by a ruler or legislature.These rules were put in place as a means of achieving social order in a wide variety of different spheres. These laws carry with them the power and authority of the en-actor, and associated penalties for failure or refusal to obey. Many people would argue that it pervades a lot of area's of human activity.  Law derives its legitimacy ultimately from universally accepted principles such as the essential justness of the rules, or the sovereign power of a parliament to enact them. It's basic purpose would be to provide a frame work of rules within which citizens co-exist in order to keep peace amongst themselves.  Law was described by Sir John Salmond as �the body of principles recognised and applied by the state in the administration of justice�. In this day and age the whole fabric of society relies on a reliable system of law, where people who suffer injustice in various forms can obtain remedies. There are some countries that do not have the benefit of a reliable system of law, this in effect has a number of consequences: people are not willing to invest in that economy; crime in various forms proliferates and the country will then suffer an inevitable high crime rate and also a big problem with poverty and depravation. Having a reliable system of law is important because it provides a fair trail for the person that is in question, in criminal law the most important principle of the law is that a person is innocent until proven guilty, so the standard of proof must be beyond reasonable doubt before a court of law can come to a conclusion. When the defendant is found guilty of a crime he/she will be  given a punishment that will reflect upon the seriousness of the case. ...read more.


Report supported Professor Hart�s view that law and morality should be separate, however, various cases decided since the report show that judges are imposing their moral views in their judgements, such as in the case of R v Brown (1994), the defendants had willingly consented to sado-masochistic practices, and none of them had complained to the police. Nevertheless, they were prosecuted, and convictions were upheld based on public policy to defend the morality of society. The law is therefore seen to attempt to uphold what it considers to be public morality, even if some may dispute the correctness of that moral code.This is a contrast to the case of R v Wilson (1996), At her request D branded his initials on his wife�s buttocks with a hot knife. The scars led to him being charged with ABH and  held his conduct amounted to �tattooing� and that it was not in the public interest to impose a criminal sanction, still showing that the public and their moral views still influence our law. The differing approaches in these cases clearly show that judges are letting their own moral values affect their judgements.The courts often find themselves at the centre of hugely difficult moral decisions involving life and death. They are often forced to decide between individual rights and moral codes. In the case of Shaw v DPP [1962] Shaw published a 'ladies directory' which listed contact details of prostitutes, the services they offered and nude pictures. Which he was then going to sell to the public for a fee.  He was convicted of conspiracy to corrupt public morals, living on the earnings of prostitution and an offence under the Obscene Publications Act 1959. The appellant appealed on the grounds that no such offence of conspiracy to corrupt public morals existed. The appeal was dismissed. The House of Lords in effect created a new crime. Lord Reid said "Even if there is still a vestigial power of this kind it ought not, in my view, to be ...read more.


where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice. 2) Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law. 3) Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights: (a)to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him; (b)to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence; (c)to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require; (d)to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him; (e)to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court. To conclude, in order for us to understand the true nature of law in society, we must fully develop our understanding of where the current societies moral standing is. In essence a law that was deemed a right decison in a case that was decided years ago does not make it right in the current time. For example the case of marital rape would have been thought to be a very easy decion as the people in those times believed that as soon as the female partner had given consent to marry the male she had automatically submitted herself to sexual acts with her partner weather she wanted them or not. However in this day and age this law has been deemed wrong and has been changed and the law of marital rape had been put in place to reflect the change in socieites moral views. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sources of Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sources of Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critically discuss different possible meanings of justice and explore the relationship between law and ...

    3 star(s)

    This then leads to an unfair trial which is not consistent and adherent to the rules. However, if a solicitor was present at the time, and there were recordings of the activities which took place during the room, it would be explicit as to whether bribery was taking place, if so, defendant can be prosecuted.

  2. "The main aims of the Land Registration Acts were to give certainty to title ...

    6 Land Registration Act 1936, Land Registration Act 1966, Land Registration and Land Charges Act 1971, Land Registration Act 1986, Land Registration Act 1988, Land Registration Act 1997, Land Registration Bill 2001 7 "... the present legislation governing registration of title is complex, confusing and badly out of date".

  1. Explain the distinction between the law and morals and consider the importance of the ...

    lenient sentence and are viewed in a different light to the former. This can be seen in diminished responsibility as a person who has an abnormality of mind does is seen in a different light. Again someone who uses provocation as a defence because they have lost their self control

  2. Unmarried fathers and their children - has the law got it right?

    play a full legal part in his child's life may be unfair, especially if, for example the mother refuses to marry him. The rationale for refusing equality of position lies in the assumption of the European Court, that some unmarried fathers are' unmeritorious' and must be denied legal rights over

  1. To what extent do you think these aims have been (or will be) facilitated ...

    There are four different ways of registering minor interests; notices30, cautions31, inhibitions32 and restrictions33. When mistakes are made on the register, the registered title becomes incorrect and needs correcting, a process called rectification34. If the person looking for rectification is replaced as the registered proprietor, he will usually be free of the burdens produced by the wrongfully registered proprietor35.

  2. Free essay

    heirachy of civil courts

    court (called the vice-chancellor prior to 2005), the president of the family division, the vice president of the court of appeal (civil division) and about 35 lords of justice of appeal. The court of appeal (civil division), which sits under the presidency of the mater of rolls, hears appeals from cases tried before the high court or the county courts.

  1. Discuss the nature of legal and moral issues. Consider whether the law does and ...

    In addition to this, public morality can also be influenced by changes in the law. For example drink driving laws and the band of using a mobile phone whilst driving have influences public morality. Another example is the case of R V Brown and others (1993)

  2. Should people have a right to privacy?

    too many public bodies now have access to the information? 6(anon, 2009) yet ?Civil liberties groups and privacy campaigners claim the act fails to provide adequate safeguards to protect individual privacy and offers no way for an individual to obtain effective redress if the powers are abused? 7(anon, 2009).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work