Law and Morality

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Law and Morality Laws and Morals are both a system of rules. Laws are a set of rules and boundaries that are established by authorities which must be obeyed; otherwise a sanction may be given. They are comprised of common law, civil law and statute law. Morals are beliefs, values and principles that are set by society or part of a society, determining what is right and wrong. Unlike law, compliance with morals is voluntary, but they are often enforced through social or domestic pressure. Laws and morals both specify what must or should be done, and make the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable conduct. However the ways in which they both do this are different as laws are codes of conduct which society has decided should be compulsory whereas morals tend not to be backed by legal sanctions. They are often reinforced by social pressure such as family and friends and are heavily embedded into religious and social history. Laws are made by a formal institution such as Parliament or judges whilst morals have no formal creation. Instead morals evolve with society, often established by communities and religions. Legal rules and laws can be changed instantly, as an Act can be repealed or a previous case overruled. Morals however change gradually, often over time as society modernises and their views or attitudes change. Legal rules can be enforced by the authorities and can also carry a criminal punishment with them such as prison time or fines whereas morals are mainly enforced by society. However they are both concerned with setting standards, which are essential for governing the behaviour of individuals within society. For example, in order to avoid unnecessary death and injury, the law requires us to drive on the left. However, it is a long-established custom, part of our morals that drivers slow down to allow ambulances to pass when their emergency

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