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Law and Morality

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by

Chinedu Igwe

on 22 January 2014

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Transcript of Law and Morality

Law and Morality
Mill's Harm Principle
John Stuart Mill's Eassay on Liberty (1869)
Argued on the struggle between Liberty and Authority
Individual liberty should not be inhibited by the state
State intervention should be minimal, applied only where one's liberty portends harm to others


Hart and Devlin Debate
Commission set up to appraise existing laws on

Homosexuality
Prostitution

Committee recommended

Decriminalizing homoseuxality
Removal of prostitutes from the streets



Hart's Views
Agreed with Wolfenden Report private morality or immorality should not be the law's business

Individuals should be at liberty to decide on matters of private morality

Individual free will is a moral value which must be respected

Objections to homosexuality and prostituion are based on ignorance, bias and irrational moral perceptions

What is law and morality?
Morality
Loosely connected system of beliefs and values
Distinction between right and wrong
Immoral acts attract social stigma


Law
A set of enforceable rules
Outlines boundaries on what is acceptable
Exerts sanctions and punishments

Significance

Non paternal state
Individual freedom
A sense of self expression
Harrassment from a meddlesome state
Tolerance
Existence of minority within a majority
Wolfenden Report (1957)
Lord Devlin's Common Morality
Common morality should be protected

Shared morality on good and evil was necessary for social harmony

Individuals should only be allowed enough freedom in tandem with existing valuse system
Critique of Hart and Devlin
Hart
Free will is boundless
Difficult to measure how one's free choice affects others directly
Leaving individuals to self-regulate is dangerous
Devlin
Common morality is a myth
State intervention in matters of individual morality rarely works
It is dangerous to entrust issues of morality into the hands of politicians
Sarah's Law introduced in 2011
Smoking ban July 2007
R v R 1991
Sexual Offences Act 1967




Morals and Law are intertwined
Recent Law and Morality Debates

Mark Duggan Inquest (2014)
Airedale NHS Trust v Bland (1993) HL
R v Brown (1993) HL
R v Dr Cox (1992)
Carroll v Fearon (1999) CA
Regina (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice (Attorney General and another intervening)
Regina (AM) v Director of Public Prosecutions and others (Same intervening) (2012)

Is the Law Immoral?


Prostitution
Gay Marriage
Abortion (24 Weeks)
Legalise Cannabis (Weed)
Right to die
Full transcript