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Relationship Between Law and Morality

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This article discusses the interface between law and morality i.e. the philosophical boundaries of both.

Image Source: South China Morning Post

Introduction

Every society has a purpose, i.e. a society is a unity of order defined by its end and aim, and different societies are categorised based on their various ends. As a result, communities are necessitated by the dignity and needs of individuals. Although culture is unavoidable, the shape of the polity is left to man’s free will.

As a consequence, laws are required throughout every society because they are necessary means to achieve the State’s end, and the object to which all laws aspire is the common good, i.e., the achievement of the society’s end. Morality is also associated with law, and its object is a set of human acts that are organised with each other and to a goal. Morality is the transformation of a known order of values, and the norm of morality is rational human nature. To put it another way, morality is nothing more than adherence to the law that governs human life: the rule of reason.

Jurists, scholars, and law enforcement officials can be split into two groups when it comes to the relationship between law and morality. One philosophy believes in the distinction of law and morality, while the other claims that the two are fully merged. Kelson deals with the “law as it is, not as it should be”. Ethics, sociology, history, and philosophy are to be excluded from legal theory.

As a result, positivists remove morality from the concept of law. Prof. Hart is an outspoken opponent of the command theory of law. He claims that the law does not apply in a gunman situation because the command cannot be given by a person holding a loaded weapon. The founder of the historical school of law, Savigny, emphasises that law is not something that can be made or changed at will by legislators. It is the result of internal silently operating forces rather than reason, command, or will of the Sovereign.

However, I believe that law alone will not be sufficient to regulate every aspect of man’s life. This is also true of morality or ethics. It is said that law is concerned with an individual’s external actions, while morality is concerned with their inner conscience. The goal of the law is to force individuals to submit to the will of organised society, whereas the goal of morality is to force individuals to follow the dictates of their conscience.

The following is a list of the specific areas of the relationship between law and morality:

→ Morality as a foundation for law: “While all laws should be moral, not all morals can be law.” All of the rules came from a common source and were backed up by supernatural fear. The state gathered and enforced those rules that were important to society, and these rules became known as the law. As a result, law and morality share a common ancestor but differ in their development.

→ Morality as a legal test:- Morals play an important role in human life. If the law lags behind popular standards, it will be discredited; if the legal standards are too high, enforcement will be difficult. As a result, the morals must be confirmed by the law.

  • Morality as the end of the law: – The goal of the law is to ensure justice, which is largely based on moral principles. Society’s competing interests should be weighed and evaluated according to the principle of minimal friction and waste. When people ask why they should follow the law, the answer is that it is for the good of society.
  • As a part of the law, morality: – Although there is a distinction between law and morals, morals are an integral part of the law. Morality is “hidden in the cracks” of the legal system and is inextricably linked to it. Law alone cannot regulate and govern all human behaviour and social relations. Many relationships are left to be regulated and governed by morals, with the law remaining uninvolved. The law is made perfect by morals.

Morality is thus intrinsically linked to the law in specific areas and can be a controlling factor in a given fact situation in terms of content. The difference between morals and law is that the law requires absolute obedience to its rules and commands. The state has to enforce authority over the law. It’s a heteronym. The law governs men’s interactions with one another and with society.

However, society is not a machine that can be run solely by law. No doubt, a judge with legal knowledge but no morality, culture, or ethics can administer justice according to the law, but it is not justice in the true sense.


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