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Hart-Devlin Debate - Term Paper Example

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Introduction Laws are necessary for the survivor of any society. Rules are broken and an offence is often committed. Laws consist of a group of rules forced by the authority and defying them often results to punishments. Morals are often personal. …
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Hart-Devlin Debate

Download file to see previous pages... They often defined right or wrong in the society, and people often stand to those principles. The law is not enacted when one is not moral or does not act in a certain moral way. The reparations of not being moral are often individual. Morality and laws often contradict in their formation and implementation. Moralities develop after a while, are not easy to alter, and are often a mindset that people have. Laws on the other hand, are easily amended and do not require a lot of time. The well-known debate between hart and Devlin addressed the relationship between law and principles. The debate sought to address several issues in criminal law. The issues at hand are mainly how homosexuality was a part of criminal law (Curzon pg 36). Laws and morality have been debated on for many years. The line between the two is often thin, and some morals turn out to be ethical issues. Laws are often enforced by the administration of a country. Morals on the other hand, are often supported by the administration but by the society at large. In 1957, the Wolfenden commission met to discuss a few issues. The committee aimed at decriminalization homosexual activities of men who acted in private. The debate questioned the relations that existed between morality and the law. The commission members questioned the extent to which criminal law was limited immensely. They did not understand how morality and criminal law intertwined. The commission had an extremely weighty argument that formed the basis of the debate to date (Lee pg 160). Devlin’s view The commission felt that if the actions of an individual did not harm the society then the offence was not significant. They felt the law would be justified to allow liberty of preferences even though the actions were considered immoral by the society. According to the committee, the role of the legal system consisted of defending the members of the society. The court was to protect the rights of the public from unpleasant and harmful acts. The court has no right to enforce any form of moral decision on an individual (Lee pg 161).What an individual does is purely personal, and no one has the right to interfere. There are various categories of harm in the society. It is not a criminal offence to hurt a person’s feeling. Devlin did not agree with this report and published an article to disclaim this. He argued that the law was not only meant for persons but for the public at large. The society has a lot of people, and it needs protection. The needs of an individual are less than society’s. The society morals cannot be compromised because of the rights of one individual in society. He argued that morality should come on its own. Devlin asserted that principles ought to stem from a sober mind what should be done to improve the society at large (Curzon pg 43). The society has the biggest role to play in the governing of the country. One individual’s actions affect the society at large. The actions of such individuals should therefore, be taken into account and in protecting the rights of one individual, lawmakers risk tarnishing the reputation of the society. In Devlin’s view, lawmakers have to consider a person’s liberty. They also have to take into account the fact that the society is constantly changing. The way the public views social customs and the liberty of an individual to act in private is also changing. Not everyone accepted the thought that Devlin had and one person in particular sought to challenge the thought. The man who challenged this thought went by the name Hart. He did not agree with what Devlin had said and responded through a radio broadcasting. He later published an article in the magazine in contradiction to Devlin’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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