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crim 135 class one notes.doc

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Simon Fraser University
CRIM 135
Graeme Bowbrick

TOPIC #1 - THE NATURE OF LAW Class one : May 09 2013 1. What is law? • Made and enforced through legal process • Process of making and enforcing • System of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior. • Made by governments specifically by their legislatures 2. Values: The foundation for laws (a) What are values? • Values are foundation for all laws • Laws always reflect values • Right or wrong Morality and ethics (parents , leadership roles politicians and etc ) Rooted from philosophical basis for out values (such as religion ) l (b) The role of values in the law/legal system • Foundations of all law legal system • There is no such thing as value neutrality in legal systems • System reflects value 3. The Major Theoretical/Philosophical Perspectives on the Law (a) Positivist Perspective • The theory that law are to be understood as social rules, valid because that are enacted by the sovereign or derive logically from existing decisions and that ideal or moral considerations should no limit the scope or operation of the law . • Process more important than content ( morality ) • Important that a law is made through a proper process • Moral content is secondary role • High values of certainty and predictable • Analysis of law as a matter of logic and interpretation • Answers of positivist are straight forward ( yes this is the law or no it is not the law ) • Positivists are not necessarily amoral but they care more about the process and argue passionately for a legal process that protects liberty and democratic institutions. 1 • Process of law is more important than the specific connect of law • Important that the existing law is a valid set of rules . • For example assisted suicide. A positivist would answer since there is a
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