Should the Law Be Underpinned by Social, Moral and Economic Values

Topics: Law, Natural law, Thomas Aquinas Pages: 5 (1688 words) Published: December 7, 2012
Name: Dareem KWG Antoine
Subject: Law
Topic: What makes Law valid? / Should the law be underpinned by social, moral and economic values? Although they vary from state to state, every country has rules, norms, values, beliefs, and, most importantly, laws. The ‘Oxford Dictionary of Law’ defines law as, ‘The enforceable body of rules that govern any society’. Just as the beliefs, values and norms, in order for law to be existent and functional in any society, there must be a social institution, through which the law established, used and developed, or else the concept of law would be a ‘pie in the sky’ theory. This institution would be the legal system. As defined by Rose-Marie Belle Antoine in ‘Commonwealth Caribbean Law and Legal Systems’, a legal system is ‘the sum of legal rules, legal institutions and machinery which operate within the particular country or jurisdiction’. The Caribbean Country of Grenada is no exception the principles afore-outlined. This essay will seek to answer the question of whether or not the law should be underpinned by social, moral and economic values. This would be accomplished by indicating whether or not the social, moral and economic values are underpinned in the most important legal sources of law in Grenada and by examining the two schools of thought which seek to answer the question of whether or not the law should be underpinned by social, moral and economic values.

There exist certain principles that must be properly defined in order to gauge a deeper understanding of the topic at hand. These are social values, moral values and economic values. Perhaps, given the complex nature of the aforementioned terms, it may be best to define the term ‘values’, then coin the term to find the social, moral and economic senses of the word. That being noted, Young and Mack in ‘Sociology and Social Life’ opine, ‘Values are assumptions, largely unconscious, of what is right.’ If social means, ‘of or relating to society or its organisation’, then a social value is an assumption, relating to the society or its organisation, of what is right. Therefore, an example of a social value is that the society is made up of four main institutions, the family, the judicial system, education and religion. Likewise, if moral means, ‘of or concerned with the goodness or badness of human character’, then a moral value is an assumption of what is right, concerning the goodness or badness of human character. ‘Men must treat each other with respect’ would be an illustration of a moral value. If economic means, ‘of or relating to the system of production and management of material wealth’, then economic values would be an assumption of the right system of production and the right management of material wealth. ‘Communism provides the best means of production’, stands to be an example of an economic value. The various concepts of values are thusly defined, and resultantly ready to be contrasted with the legal sources of law in Grenada.

All legal sources of law in Grenada reflect, to some degree, social, moral and economic values. As posited by Rose Marie Belle-Antoine, a legal source of law is ‘the basis of the law’s validity, that which gives law its authority’ In Grenada, the main legal sources of law are; the Constitution, Legislation, and Judicial Precedent. The Grenada Constitution Order 1973 is the supreme law of the land of Grenada, as succinctly stated by section 106 of the same. In its preamble, the Constitution posits, ‘Whereas the people of Grenada express their respect for the rule of law…’ The mention of the rule of law here in the Constitution, speaks to the presence of the social value which assumes that the society should be organised in such a way, so as to enable it to respect the principles of the rule of law. One piece of legislation, the Criminal Code, shows that the law contains economic values. ‘Whoever, knowingly executes, or attempts to execute a scheme or artifice to defraud a bank or...
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