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Law and Morality


Law and Morality

To understand the relationship between Law and Morality, it is first necessary to understand what the terms Law and Morality mean. Law is not something that can be read and taken literally. The school of natural law interpreted law in relation to morality by using the term morality. It focused on what should be the rule rather than what is currently the law. They argued that law should be interpreted in terms of faith, morality, liberty, justice, and conscience, rather than merely in terms of the law.

However, positivism characterised law as stressing that it is only subject to our own experiences. There is no connection between morality and the law. The law is the coming of the Sovereign that can be enforced through punishment.[1]

Morality is a collection of principles that allow people to live together in communities. It's what societies deem right and appropriate Morality isn't set in stone. What you consider appropriate in your culture will not be acceptable in another. Morals are influenced by geographical areas, faith, family, and life experiences.[2]

Difference between Law and Morality

There was no difference between law and morality in Ancient Societies. They were both thought to be the same person. With the arrival of the Middle Ages, faith provided a spiritual foundation for the law. Modern philosophers in the post-Reformation period stressed the contrast between law and morality.

The following are some of the differences between law and morality:

Law is concerned with a person's individual liberty, while morality is concerned with collective conceptions of what is good and evil.

Law governs a man's behaviour when he is a member of a particular society, whereas morals govern a man's behaviour even when he is alone.

Laws consider a man's outward behaviour, while morals consider factors such as inner resolve and willpower direction.

Law is imposed by "external coercion," while values appeal to an individual's free will.[3]

Case laws on Law and Morality

Queen vs. Dudley and Stephen's Case [4]

For many days, the defendants, Dudley and Stephens, as well as two other gentlemen, Mr. Brooks and the survivor, Richard Parker, sat on the boat. When it became clear that everyone would perish from thirst and hunger, the defendants agreed to kill Parker for the sake of the others. A man who kills another to eat his flesh in order to escape hunger death is guilty of murder; however, he is in such circumstances at the time of the act that he believes and has fair reasons to believe that it is the only way to save his life.

Judgment of the case: In this case, the court held that one person cannot sacrifice another person's life to save his or her own. And on these facts, there was no evidence of any necessity that could justify the prisoners in killing the boy and they were guilty of murder. It becomes very much clear by the decision in this case that what appeared to be morally right from the eyes of the defendants was considered as a crime in the eyes of the law


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