Consider the Extent Law Does and Should Enforce Morality

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Moral Pages: 3 (1169 words) Published: May 1, 2013
Consider the extent law does and should enforce morality
Law is a set of rules and boundaries that are established by authorities which must be obeyed, otherwise, a sanction may be given. Law was described by Sir John Salmond as ‘the body of principles recognized and applied by the state in the administration of justice’. While Morals are beliefs, values and principles that are set by society or part of a society, determining what is right and wrong. Unlike legal rules, moral rules are voluntary and often informally enforced through social or domestic pressure. There are differences between legal rules and moral rules. Law are created by formal institution such as the parliament. Morals are form slowly and changes as the society’s attitude changes. Law can be instantly made and instantly change. However, the ways in which both are different, the law are codes of conduct which the society has decided should be compulsory. There is an overlap between law and moral. An example is prostitution. Law can often be seen reinforcing and seeking to uphold our moral values. But this can be seen as a major problem, regarding the nature of any moral code. Morals will consistently change over time, to reflect a change in attitudes, and the law must attempt to keep up in these situations. An example of this can be seen in R v R (1991), which changed the law, so that rape within marriage became a crime. It was viewed that the wife was legally seen as almost the property of the husband, via the marriage agreement. This view was morally outdated and wrong, yet the law was very slow in adapting to this moral view. If the law is to enforce morals, then it is faced with the problem that what one person considers immoral, another might not, making it harder to decide which viewpoint should it sanction. This is established in the case of Gillick, where Mrs Gillick sought a declaration that what she saw as an immoral activity, which was contraceptive advice and treatment available...
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