Law and Morality Essay (30 mark)
Law is a set of rules and boundaries that are establishes by authorities which must be obeyed, otherwise a sanction may be given, law was described by Sir John Salmond as “the body of principles recognises and applied by the state in the administration of justice”. While morals are a set of beliefs, values, principles and standard of behaviour defined in An Introduction to Law which was written by Phil Harris. Unlike legal rules, compliance with moral rules is voluntary, that are often informally enforced through social or domestic pressure.
Many of the distinctions between legal and moral rules emerge between through a discussion of their characteristics. Legal rules can be resolved through reference to a precedent or an Act of Parliament; this however cannot be done with moral rules because there are not scientifically truths and can be argued. Laws are formally enforced by appointed authorities such as the Police and Criminal prosecution Service, whereas morals rules are reinforced by social pressures; such as family and friends. They can have powerful influence on people’s behaviours and develop over 1000s of years, often embedded in religious and social history. Another point will be that legal rules can be changed instantly, whereas moral rules evolve gradually. For example the legal rules regarding homosexuality acts in private between consenting adults were instantly changed when the Sexual Offences Act 1967 was passed. However society’s moral acceptance of homosexuality underwent and continues to undergo gradual change. Legal rules are enforced by state sanctions and procedures, whereas moral rules are enforced through social and domestic pressure.
There are many long established rules which have amoral connection. These include the laws of murder and theft which can be tracked down to the Ten Commandments. Firstly public morality may influence judicial change. In criminal law, the decision in R v Brown (1993) was...