What is Law and Legal Theory?
What is Law?
Basic Definition: Law is a body of requirements and prescriptions that apply to
-Sets standards of behavior against which behavior can be evaluated.
Law is internalized, and sets normative standards.
-Prescribes certain behavior
-Applies to everyone
- Law= general; order=specific
-Created and enforced by the state
-Body for enactment and enforcement of the law
Different theories provide explanation for the existence, authority and nature of law.
1) Natural Law Theory
LAW IS MORALITY
2 key concepts:
1. Moral Universalism
o Belief that Universal moral truths exist and will exist
until the end of time
o Greek: Theory of the forms
o Christians: Divine NLT (Augustine)
o Locke: Universal rights “inalienable” rights
o Jefferson: Life, Liberty, Pursuit of happiness
- Moral Relativism
o What is moral changes over time
o Opposite to moral universalism
o NLTs reject this idea
2. Legal Validity Depends on Moral Validity Critiques:
-How do we know what universal moral truths are?
-Do these truths exist?
-Truths must be very vague i.e. Do not kill
2) Legal Positivism
-“To posit” – to state
LAWS ARE MADE BY A SOVERIGN
-Law is separate from morality
-Authority legitimizes law
-Law is justified and legitimate in accordance to its ma