Legal Studies - Basic Legal Concepts

Categories: Moral

Law - is a set of rules that is binding the community. A set of rules that can be enforced and is officially recognized. Law must be capable or reform and change as society’s values and ethics change.

Relationship between customs, rules and laws - Customs and rules govern behavior but the courts do not enforce them on community members. The community may generally see a custom as right but it is not legally enforceable. Rules, however, may punish offenders but rules only apply in certain circumstances and areas.

Laws are legally sanctioned and are enforced by the courts.

Although the community generally accepts all three, rules and customs do not have the same legal sanction as laws. An example of this is smoking in public restaurants. It was a custom for shop owners to provide a smoking and non-smoking section in their restaurants. Once the dangers of smoking became known rules were put in to prevent smoking in restaurants.

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Laws were then passed in public interest to make sure that smoking was only allowed in outdoor sections of restaurants.

  • They are all types of rules
  • They can all be made into laws
  • They all regulate human behaviour
  • They all carry consequences when they are breeched, sanctions

Values - Principals or attitudes which society sees as important. The moral principles and beliefs which reflect society’s judgment about the importance of different things. a personal belief system

Ethics - a set of moral beliefs governing behaviour. Ethics define what we consider to be the right and wrong way to behave.

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a code of conduct; moral principles

Characteristics of Just Laws

  • It is enforceable
  • It is binding on the community
  • It is in the public’s interest
  • It is discoverable
  • It is accepted by the community
  • It reflects community morality

Nature of Justice

  • Equality- equal treatment or equal opportunity. That all people are entitled to enjoy the same rights, responsibilities, opportunities and that no one should be privileged or disadvantaged.
  • Fairness- achieving equal outcomes for people. Achieving reasonable and equal outcomes according to generally accepted ideas about what is right and just.
  • Accessible Procedural Fairness, Principles of Natural Justice
  • The right to be heard
  • The right to have a decision made by an unbiased decision maker
  • The right to a decision based on logically relevant evidence Justice- a concept about what is right and wrong and what is fair and unfair.

A combination of elements such as, equality, fairness and reasonableness

  • Rule of Law - Everyone is subject to the same laws, no one is above the law. Punished equally through sanctions (penalty)
  • Anarchy- a state of chaos resulting from the absence of laws and/or government.
  • Tyranny – rule by a single leader holding absolute power in a nation-state
Cite this page

Legal Studies - Basic Legal Concepts. (2016, Dec 16). Retrieved from

Legal Studies - Basic Legal Concepts
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