Law, morality and justice


Law is a system of rules that govern a country; it is applied uniformly to all people. The rules vary depending on time, people, and place. As society changes, the law keeps on changing. It is created and enforced by the state. The state enforces it through punishments and penalties.  Well-structured governments aid in the proper implementation of the law. In layman’s language, law, morality, and justice may appear similar. However, in the legal system, they are different. Although they are different, they are correlated.  

While law defines people’s conduct, justice ensures that the rule of law applies uniformly to everyone. Judges describe the law as a way of securing justice. It is a means to the end. Justice ensures that a person respects the rights of everyone. There are two types of justice; civil and criminal justice.

Civil justice aims at solving disagreements between two or more people amicably without punishing anyone. The criminal justice system focuses on punishing the wrongdoers. Punishment is a form of pain inflicted on the person who goes against the law. It aims at setting an example to the people and creating a crime-free society. 

There are four theories of punishment. Deterrent aims at setting an example to others. Preventive focuses on preventing the criminal from reoffending either by imprisoning them or giving a death penalty. Reformative concentrates on reforming the individual and retributive believe in an eye for an eye.

In ancient times, there was no difference between morality and law. Romans derived morals from natural law. In the middle ages, Christian morals formed the basis of the law. However, after the power of the church was overthrown, states took over. Since then, the law was authorized and informed by the nation and not morals. There is a difference between morals and laws. While morals focus on shaping the character of an individual, the law deals with governing the relationships between individuals and the state. The state enforces the law. Adherence to morals depends on a person’s conscience.

Although morals and law are different, they are correlated. The law promotes moral principles of what is right, just, and truthful. Most countries have rules established by the legislature. However, some still follow religious doctrines such as Sharia law; Iran and Saudi Arabia are good examples. There are two types of laws, public and private; private law concentrates on legal disagreements between companies, organizations, and individuals. Public law focuses on government and society.