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Law. Discussion of views - Essay Example

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An opinion has been presented to a newspaper with the view that there is no difference between morality and the law. The same article claims that there is no significant difference between civil law and criminal law…
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Law. Discussion of views
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Download file to see previous pages Difference between law and morality Laws are sets of rules that are adopted by societies for regulating behaviour and conducts of its members. The society can be an institution or a territorial set up such as nations. Morality is on the other hand defined by ethical values that are held by a society. It is based on cultural practices of set ups such as communities and institutions. Principles of law and morality therefore interact with some similarities and differences. One of the differences between law and morality is in their sources. Gardner explains that while morality originates from a collective responsibility of a society, law is a creation of an individual or a group of specific people. He argues that law is made on purpose and is therefore objective driven. As a result, law is viewed as a creation of necessity and predetermined intentions. This distinguishes law from morality that emanates from cultural practices that have been held and approved as acceptable by a given society. It can therefore be identified that while law is a consequence of circumstances that establishes the aims of formulating the laws, morality is based on a person’s conscience within his immediate society (Gardner, n.d., 1-3). A boundary between law and morality is also drawn with respect to the content of the two. If the two were similar, then they would be regulating matters in the same approach. This is however not the case because the two are sometimes in conflict. Some legal issues are not moral. At the same time, there exist moral issues that are prohibited by law. There are for instance laws that allows for gay marriages and slavery. In the context of morality, gay marriage and slavery are unacceptable to human sanctity aspects. Similarly, the approach to implementation of law and morality are different. While law relies on the punitive consequences for disobedience for its enforcement, morality is adopted as a culture by its subjects and does not attract a punishment for disobedience (Wku, 2001, p. 1). Cane agrees with these opinions that morality is a concept that exist within a society and is to be identified with, while law is created by people and must be obeyed. An act can therefore be immoral and yet legal (Cane, 2002, p. 12, 13). Difference between criminal and civil law There are also a number of differences between criminal law and civil law. The differences range from their scope to procedures that are involved in litigation. While criminal law defines offenses against a society as a whole, civil law defines wrongs committed by an individual against another individual. A criminal wrong has a wider scope and has a potential of affecting the public at large. An example of a criminal wrong is public nuisance such as emission of a poisonous air pollutant in to the atmosphere. This has a potential of affecting every individual who is within the pollutant’s vicinity. A wrong under civil law on the other hand affect a specific person. Private nuisance such as throwing objects into a person’s piece of land causes damage to the specific landowner or specific peoples who have right over ownership or usage of the infringed piece of land. No individual person can therefore claim compensation in a criminal case (Overbeck and Belmas, 2011, p. 19; Elias, 2009, p. 51-54). Another difference between criminal law and civil law is with respect to parties to the subject case. While parties in a civil case are the plaintiff and the defendant, parties to a criminal case are the suspect or suspects and the state, represented by a prosecutor. The prosecutor, who may initiate the case or take it over from a private individual, presents a criminal case in court. Private individuals, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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