Does the law have to be ethical?

Laws are not necessarily closely linked to ethics. There may be laws that are unfair, unfair, or simply wrong, such as racist, anti-Semitic, or other discriminatory laws. The law has limits. The law cannot make people honest, caring, or fair.

For example, lying or betraying a trust isn't illegal, but it's not ethical. While not all health professions require compliance with a code of ethics, all of them require compliance with the law. Finally, ethics and law address similar issues (see box). In what would be known as Hart's “separability thesis”, he argued that a law such as the one that requires a person to drive on the right side of the road could be a good law, but it's not a moral principle.

You would never go to Great Britain and say, “My morality commands me to drive on the right and I feel morally committed to driving on the left.” He argued that morality can influence the law, but it is not synonymous with the law. On the other hand, laws against dangerous driving (or, for example, murder), for example, are undoubtedly influenced by morality, but they are also part of the social-bureaucratic order. And well-ordered states are not necessarily moral states. Devlin's claim that laws exist to enforce morality was, Hart noted, simply factually incorrect.

Ethics is a set of moral values that an individual establishes for himself and for his own personal behavior. Laws are structured rules that are used to govern the whole of society. Not only do retailers have an obligation to act ethically, but so do the professionals who work there. Within the hierarchy of retail companies, managers often interact with individual employees who are subject to “professional codes of conduct”.

These codes of conduct may vary depending on the employee and their position at the company. He went further and stated that laws against homosexuality existed because there was a strong sense of “disgust” in society. When enough people think something is moral, they will work to repeal a law that prohibits it and punishes those who do it. Hart, in his response to Devlin, agreed with the Wolfenden Report's statement that “there must continue to exist an area of private morality or immorality that, in short and rude terms, is not a matter of law.

But Hart's problem with Devlin's argument was deeper than Mill's doctrine and its separation from law and morality. Hart argued that morality and law are separate and Fuller asserted that morality is the source of law's binding power. For Hart, this suggested that society had little interest in enforcing this law and that it had become a dead letter. In his lecture, Devlin refuted the Wolfenden Report, arguing that the law should and is used “to achieve uniformity in society.” As he would argue in his famous book The Concept of Law, morality can influence the law, but laws and morals are different social phenomena.

Hart's argument was that, in England, a traditional belief, reflected in the formulation of the law, held that there was some distinction between the fetus and the newborn baby. This industry was destined to aggravate unwanted inequality in society, by creating an “abortion law” for the rich and another for the poor. In this research, Hart addressed the question of the harm that abortion laws caused in Great Britain before their liberalization in 1967.

Laura Holzer
Laura Holzer

Certified tv fanatic. Evil coffee scholar. Total social media enthusiast. Amateur pop culture ninja. Amateur social media evangelist. Typical burrito fan.

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