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Law and Morality Essays

The first theory is natural law, adopted by St Thomas Aquinas. This states that there is a higher law to which law must conform.

One should disregard a law which is at odds with this natural code, unless doing so would lead to social unrest. The problem arises in establishing what this higher code is, although it would seem to be based on human rights. Aquinas saw it as coming from God, while Aristotle believed it came from nature. Another theory refined by John Stuart Mill. He argues that criminal acts such as homosexuality illegal when he was writing , abortion, and drug abuse do not harm innocents, only those who partake of their own free will.

A major criticism is, however, that not only can the nature of harm and others be questioned as with utilitarianism but it is difficult to argue that someone with a powerful drug addiction, for example, is acting of their own free will. The committee behind the report contained Lord Devlin, a prominent judge, and the academic Professor Hart. Devlin, on the other hand, was strongly opposed to the report, on what might be cited as a natural law approach.

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.

The scars led to him being charged with ABH S 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. The following cases illustrate some of their approaches: She required no treatment to keep her alive, but had great difficulty talking, eating and sleeping. She was concerned that her husband would be convicted of a serious criminal offence if he helped to end her life and sought the permission of the court for active euthanasia.

The courts reluctantly refused her request. This relates to euthanasia which is both morally and legally wrong, reinforcing the idea that certain views in society share the same moral and legal opinion.

Another case involving illnesses and euthanasia is the Miss B The High Court decided she had the right to refuse to continue with the treatment, this was allowed as it amounted to passive euthanasia which is legally acceptable. Society considers it wrong to take the life of another human being and these two cases reflect this moral viewpoint.

In the case of Mary and Jodie , Siamese twins had their major organs conjoined and the separation of the twins would have led to the death of one of them, but if the separation was not done, both of them could die. In this case medical opinion seemed to overrule religious and moral beliefs, so the law was not supporting moral opinion, in favour of a medical view. They had been trying to start a family and she arranged for sperm to be extracted from him.

Following his death she attempted to use the sperm to become pregnant, but this was banned under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. She won the right to have the insemination carried out abroad.

This was held to be incompatible with the human right to private and family life and the law has since been changed. This case is an example of how moral change led to legal change. In conclusion, there is a close relationship between law and morals, as the law does uphold moral values in some cases, though the extent to which law should be influenced by morality remains topical. Follow 3 Law, a set of rules and principles created and enforced by the state.

Morals are a set of beliefs, values principles and standards of behaviour created by society. There are differences between legal rules and moral rules. Law are created by formal intuition e. Morals evolve as a feeling within society. No formal creation exists. Laws can be instantly made and instantly cancelled. It can exist one minute and the next it does not. There is usually a slow transitional period e.

A law either exists or it does not. Its existence can be established. Morals are much vaguer in definition. Although society is generally that certain activities are immoral, e. Breach of law leads to some form of punishment or remedy enforced by the state. Breach of moral leads to some form of social condemnation but the state is not involved. A law exists even if the vast majority disobey it. Therefore these values and beliefs are vital for the existence of moral. There is overlap between law and morals.

An example includes prostitution. The area of law that will be discussed is euthanasia. Factors will be taken into account, the extent to which the law does and should enforce moral values. Euthanasia is the bringing about of a gentle and easy death in the case of incurable and painful disease with the consent of the victim. English law forbids euthanasia. There are many moral arguments both in support of legalising euthanasia and for maintaining it as illegal.

It can be seen as merciful, Diane Pretty. It is strongly argued that people have the right to die how and when they want to. This argument may be harsh but it may become necessary for fair distribution of medical resources.

Since it will also happen anyway so it therefore better to legalise it and regulate it properly. Death may not be seen as a bad thing for the people involved such as the victim and family members. However moral arguments against legalising euthanasia should be taken into account as well. For this very reason there exist law essay writing services such as ours. Every member of our staff in an expert writer with training in the subfield of law and morality, as well as other legal fields, and will be able to write you a custom original law and morality essay that will earn a high grade and help you make it through this rocky stage of your legal career.

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Thank you for understanding! Please, enter email address. For the typical, law-abiding citizen the significance of law resides not in its coerciveness but in its normativity. Such a person obeys the law not in order to avoid its coercive sanctions but because they consider obedience to be the preferable or correct course of action. A legal system could not operate effectively if this were not so. In this light, we must question whether a theory of the limits of law based on the assumption that law is seen by those to whom it is addressed as an invasion of their autonomy is likely to be sound.

Why should we determine the limits of law by reference to the perspective of the minority of people who obey it only because of its coercive capacity, rather than the perspective of those who view law as a legitimate source of standards of behaviour? If law were viewed from this latter perspective, the idea that it might appropriately prescribe standards of behaviour that express shared social values and aspirations would seem much less objectionable.

Even if the behavior is bad for the community as a whole, just considered in itself, the consequences of trying to censor or otherwise suppress it would be, in the long run, even worse. Even if the behaviour makes the community worse off, even in the very long run, it is nevertheless wrong to censor or restrict it because this violates the individual moral or political rights of citizens who resent the censorship. Favouring the Rights-Based Strategy p.

I shall call this the right to moral independence, Justification of the Right to Moral Independence. If someone has a right to moral independence, this means that it is for some reason wrong for officials to act in violation of that right, even if they correctly believe that the community as a whole would be better off if they did. To some extent, the argument in favour of a particular right must depend on which general background justification for political decisions the right in question proposes to trump.

This is the most prevalent background in Western Democracies. Suppose we accept then that, at least in general, a political decision is justified if it promises to make citizens happier or to fulfil more of their preferences, on average, than any other decision could.

Suppose we assume that the decision to prohibit pornography altogether does, in fact, meet that test, because the desires and preferences of publishers and consumers are outweighed by the desires and preferences of the majority, including their preferences about how others should lead their lives.

How could any contrary decision, permitting even the private use of pornography, then be justified? A proper understanding of the underlying justification for utilitarianism will itself justify the Right. Utilitarianism owes whatever appeal it has to what we might call its egalitarian nature. Utilitarianism claims that people are treated as equals when the preferences of each, weighted only for intensity, are balanced in the same scales, with no distinctions for persons or merit.

If utilitarianism is to figure as part of an attractive working political theory, then it must be qualified so as to restrict the preferences that undermine egalitarianism. One very practical way to achieve this restriction is provided by the idea of rights as trumps over unrestricted utilitarianism. The right of moral independence can be defended in a parallel way. Neutral utilitarianism rejects the idea that some ambitions that people might have for their own lives should have less command over social resources and opportunities than others, except as this is the consequence of weighing all preferences on an equal basis in the same scales.

But then it cannot for the reasons just canvassed count the moral preferences of those who do hold such opinions in the calculation whether individuals who form some sexual minority, including homosexuals and pornographers, should be prohibited from the sexual experiences they want to have. The right of moral independence is part of the same collection of rights as the right of political independence, and it is to be justified as a trump over an unrestricted utilitarian defence of prohibitory laws against pornography.

Limitations on the Right: Or suppose that private consumption has some special and deleterious effect on the general economy, by causing great absenteeism from work. Then government would have, in these facts, a justification for the restraint and perhaps even for the prohibition of pornography that does not include the offending hypothesis either directly, by the assumption that the hypothesis is true, or indirectly, in the proposition that many people think it true.

Can we find a plausible justification for restricting the display of pornography that does not violate the right of moral independence?

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Law and Morality Essays The main intellectual obstacle to overcome while writing a law and morals essay is resolving the discrepancy between the objectivity of morality and the explicitness of the rule of law.

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Relationship Between Morality And The Law This essay will look at the issue of the relationship between morality and the law. The emotive topic will then be illustrated by looking at whether voluntary euthanasia should be legalised in England. Law and morality play a large role here, mainly because there is a legal issue and a moral issue associated with the predicament. The reason law has a part in the situation is that after the decision is made, it will be examined legally and must be accountable for its consequences.

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