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Respect for The Law and How It Can Be Achieved

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Words: 921 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Words: 921|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Creating a desire to respect the law is a vital step to building a civilised community. In order for the laws created by the government to be respectable, they must be aligned with our natural laws. St. Thomas Aquinas’ theory of natural law is that any rational being such as humans could use “instinct to show us the basic goods, and reason allows us humans to derive the natural law from them”. All rational beings have tendencies to pursue most of the basic goods including “life, health, knowledge, play, friendship, religion, and aesthetic experience” according to a contemporary version of the natural law theory argued by philosopher John Finnis in his paper. Natural law is universal and reflects the personal values of all “rational beings”, if our positive law reflects these values then it will naturally become respectable.

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Likewise, if the law were to be respectable it must reflect the societal values of the people. In the previous centuries, this will likely include religious value however as the time progressed religious values has become less significant. To make the positive laws of the 21st century respectable - especially in a democratic society - the laws should reflect values of equality and appreciate human rights. Relating back to the natural law, many are not in favour of capital punishment because it breaches modern human right values as well as natural law. Humans value their own lives (the basic good of life and health) due to our survival instinct; reason will result in the recognition that other human life is also valuable. Hence, murder is a violation of natural law so we respect the positive law that ensures justice and punishment of the offender if anyone were to break the law by committing murder.

Many do not respect the law but are obedient to the law. Being obedient of the law is the fear of consequences rather than following the law because one recognises the value and importance of it. For instance, a child is more likely to not only follow the rules but respect the rules imposed and enforced by the parent(s) if they respect them since they will feel more morally obligated to follow the rules. A child who doesn’t respect the parents will follow the rules out of the fear of punishment and is more likely to break the rules when they think they are able to avoid punishment. In other words, when one thinks that they are able to avoid the consequences, the law can still be broken because one who does not respect the law will not feel the moral obligation to abide by it whereas one who does respect the law and its values will.

To respect the law is also to respect those who make and enforce it - as author and journalist, Hunter S. Thompson says in his paper “we cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.” One will find it difficult to respect the law if they don’t respect the lawmaker, executive, police and other members of the legal and justice system. If the government desired the respect for the law then the fair application of the law is also required by the members of the legal and justice system is required. This means all members of the legal and justice system must work as a whole to ensure the system itself is fair and just by respecting the rule of law. Though there are many different definitions and interpretations of the rule of law, there is always one element that is common: no one is above the law and everyone is subject to the law. This is crucial in a common law system as those entrusted to make judgements, especially in the higher courts as the binding precedent can affect the future generations greatly.

For the same reasons of binding precedent, having diversity in the judiciary will also make the law more respectable. As Lady Hale has notably said “the courts are there to serve the whole population, not just a small section of it. They should be as reflective of that population as it is possible to be”, it is impossible for all citizens to respect the law if they do not feel that their values are not represented in the court. Only a quarter of the Supreme Court of the UK represents 51% of the population. This means if large issues such as the right to abortion arise more than half the population could be represented by a panel of males who are unable to relate to them, potentially resulting in an unfair judgment. How can citizens respect the law if they do not feel the law is there to protect their own interests?

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To conclude the essay, if today’s citizens were the respect the law and the values it upholds then it must abide by our natural laws as well as reflect the societal values of the 21st century. To go beyond the obedience of law and respect the law, citizens must respect the members of the legal and justice system including those who make the law from the 3 branches of government: executive, legislators and judiciary as well as those who enforce it: the police. For this to happen, all members must respect the rule of laws as well as do their best for the interest of the people whether this is making the judiciary more diverse or ensuring the fair application of law amongst every single citizen.

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

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Respect For The Law And How It Can Be Achieved. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/respect-for-the-law-and-how-it-can-be-achieved/
“Respect For The Law And How It Can Be Achieved.” GradesFixer, 18 Mar. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/respect-for-the-law-and-how-it-can-be-achieved/
Respect For The Law And How It Can Be Achieved. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/respect-for-the-law-and-how-it-can-be-achieved/> [Accessed 22 May 2024].
Respect For The Law And How It Can Be Achieved [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Mar 18 [cited 2024 May 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/respect-for-the-law-and-how-it-can-be-achieved/
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