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Do you agree with the Statement from Lord Patrick Devlin - Essay Example

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The general public finds it convenient to refer simply to “The law” implying that there is one, universally accepted and externally imposed set of rules by which society is governed. Very often, this concept is tied to the individual’s sense of morality and values, perhaps stemming from religious beliefs or cultural experience…
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Do you agree with the Statement from Lord Patrick Devlin
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The general public finds it convenient to refer simply to “The law” implying that there is one, universally accepted and externally imposed set of rules by which society is governed. Very often, this concept is tied to the individual’s sense of morality and values, perhaps stemming from religious beliefs or cultural experience. Hence it can seem that what is legal is not to be questioned – one system of law is very much like another since humans do understand what is right and what is wrong. And since the law is then instituted to protect individuals within the society, but more importantly the society at large, it may seem that the statement of Lord Patrick Devlin, that theoretically any invasion of privacy, however extreme, must be sanctioned, is accurate (Devlin, 1965: 118). If the society is to be protected, an invasion of the privacy of the individual is a small price to pay. Additionally, the society at large would permit such invasions, since each individual would consider him/herself protected by the invasion of someone else’s privacy. In theory, the protection and service of the society must outweigh the rights of the individual, if the individual threatens that society. Legal practitioners and theorists, however, do debate and consider law as constructed, rather than as an external framework within which societies exist. Furthermore, the purpose of law is not as simply stated as: a set of rules meant to protect the society and the individuals within it, with the safety of the society being more important than that of the individual. In a world apparently embracing democratic and human rights principles more widely, the prioritization of the community over the individual is brought into question. As an overview, laws need to be defined as rules which people agree to be subject to, whether within their communities, or on a wider level, which they agree to within their societies or States. To have effective legal systems, the individuals within communities, societies or the States of the world must agree to abide by the laws they have recognised, and acknowledge the authority of the institutions or people who are appointed to manage those laws. There is, in the making of laws, likely to be some overlap between moral and legal rules but, more importantly, whether there is moral justification for a law or not, there has to be widespread convention within the community or society which recognises a law (Hart, 1994: 258). The argument must stand that there should be a rule of recognition – according to which the individuals within a society do recognise and agree to abide by a law. Some norms of a society do fall within the authority of the legal system, while others are socially accepted norms, not always framed by legal structures. All laws, though, are not necessarily connected to morality but do serve to coerce the members of a society into acceptable behaviours and practices. But laws can only be valid when private citizens meet their obligations, or obey the rules, according to the law, and public officials enact the conduct set out within those laws to manage and enact the legal system (Hart, 2004: 110, 116). Often if a legal system is able to meet such criteria, and there are no political reasons for defying the legal system, the population at large will with few exceptions, obey the law. Thus it can be proposed that the “judgement of society” can “sanction every invasion of a man's privacy, however extreme” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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