The Effect of Morality and Justice on Law
Over the years, the legal personnel of the English Legal System have
tried to separate law from morality and justice. This has proven to be
quite a hard task considering the fact that even the House of Lords
judges allow their morals to influence their decisions on certain
I think it is difficult to separate morality from law because most of
the laws in Britain are an example of enacted morality, such as the
law on manslaughter and murder, which echoes the commandment "Thou
shalt not kill."
Separating justice from law is just as hard. The dictionary definition
of justice is 'the normative idea ...view middle of the document...
Again they reflect the Ten Commandments. This is what many
people will argue when told that morality is not the same as law.
Law is concerned with right and wrong, it restrains evil and protects
good, isn't this what most people understand morality as? Obviously
people aren't going to notice the difference between law and morality
if morality is the foundation of many laws in our legal system. Even
legal personnel allow their morals to influence them in cases, as was
the case in 1993 of R v Brown. A group of adult men, having given
their full consent, took part in sadomasochistic acts. Their case
reached the House of Lords, where it was ruled that their behaviour
was a breach of the criminal law of assault. Only three out of five
agreed with the decision. One of the judges on the case, Lord
Templeman, who noticeably agreed with Lord Devlin's way of thinking,
stated that 'society needed to be protected against a cult of
violence' and that it was 'uncivilised.' Another judge working
alongside Lord Templeman, known as Lord Slynn disagreed and argued
that there was nothing in the law saying these men had done wrong. He
argued that the judges should think of the law and not of their
feelings towards this particular subject. And so there you have it;
morals cause conflict between judges during cases. It is hard even for
them to separate morals and law in certain cases.
The main difference between law and morality is that morality changes
according to people, slowly and only at the will of the people. It
cannot be deliberately changed whereas law can and is deliberately
changed by legislation. Another variation is that morality is
voluntary; people do not have to comply with moral rules but they do
have to meet the terms of law. If somebody does something considered
morally wrong they will not be faced with official sanctions although
they may feel guilty or ashamed. However if somebody does something
wrong by the law they will be faced with legal proceedings.
Justice is not provided by law. Justice is what the law aims to
achieve. It is the ultimate goal which law should try its hardest to
accomplish. Understandably this cannot always be the case and so
people may complain that justice was not done.
As with morals people have...