Law and morality
Both law and Morals are well respected as they both often state what should be done in a situation or what a person should and should not do. Laws are often created with morals in mind e:g
However during history, there have been some areas of law that have clashed with morals
Tort law – Donoghue v Stevenson (1932) Lord Aitken ‘Do not harm your neighbour’ The bible is the main source for moral thinking There are some things however that are considered immoral but are not unnecessary illegal, for example: telling lies is something that everyone inevitably does in their lives. There have been moral values that have changed over time e:g attitudes towards homosexuality. Law often lags behinds moral changes. R V R (1991)
This was a case in which there was a need for massive reform. This change the law on rape within marriage. Re A (Conjoined twins: surgical separation)
This dealt with separating Siamese twins, the court of appeal said that it was not of court of morals but of law. This meant that the court of law would only take action if it was said so in legal principle
Utilitarianism – John Stuart Mill (1859)
Individuals should be free to choose their own moral conduct as long it proves no harm to others e:g (Ku Klux Klan and neo Nazism) Morality is not forced down on to an individual.
Hart Devlin debate
This recommended legalisation of homosexuality and prostitution. Devlin opposed the report – common morality was necessary to keep society together. The law has a duty to keep intact the common morality and immoral behaviour is judged by the person with the ‘correct’ mind-set Hart Approved of the report – the use of law to enforce morals was ultimately unnecessary, unwanted and ironically unacceptable. Criticisms of the Wolfenden report
The right mind-set of an individual is very difficult to prove, for example the individual could be corrupt or...
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