Should the Law Depend on Moral Values

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Addressing this statement one needs to ask (a) Does the law depend on moral values? (b) Should the law depend on moral values? before establishing any degree of societal acknowledgement. Since time immemorial, there has always been an argument concerning the ways in which the law is affected by morality and consequently there is obviously a continuous societal debate establishing the development of this so-called relationship. This begs questions such as; ‘What are moral values? What is meant by the law ? How are these laws formulated? Can moral values be against the law? Can the law protect moral values? If something is immoral can it be legal? Are moral values limited by the law? Does a change in moral values change the law ? One can argue that society has many types of rules which impact on people’s normal everyday life and consequently the acceptability of these rules links to personal perceptions, religious affiliations, cultural background, attitude, knowledge, experiences and race. According to Collins dictionary the law is “a rule or set of rules instituted by Act of parliament, custom or practice, in order to punish those who offend the conventions of society.” This suggests that if laws are not obeyed there will be penalties as both explanations show that laws are binding, instituted by Acts of parliament, enforceable because they are used to punish offender and they are necessary because humans have differences in perceptions and behaviour requiring control. Moral value according to the Encarta dictionary is “based on what somebody’s conscience suggests is right or wrong rather than on what rules or the law says should be done.” The commandment ‘Thou shalt not steal’ is part of the Christian religion, set to provide moral values of conformity and has been echoed through the rules of law, labelling anyone who steals as a thief. The ‘Theft Act (1968), presently an enforceable legal rule originated from this which reasonably suggests that moral...
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