Blog Post #2
by AUStudent on October 30, 2015 - 11:53am
Blog Post 2
Why do we obey the law?
There are two main reasons why people follow the law; one is to avoid legal consequences and the second is to retain the legitimacy of authority. The first reason why people obey the law was so they did not have to suffer the consequences that are received when breaking the laws such as criminal charges or going to jail depending on the degree of the crime. The second reason why people obey the law is so that the legitimacy of the authority of the law is present. As stated in the question, the law must be followed and recognized for it to have any weight in the society.
What happens if we disagree with a specific law?
Laws are set out to defend our rights and freedoms and because of them we live in peace and harmony in our societies. People respect the law because it protects individuals but if one does not obey then the law no longer offers its protection. If a citizen were to disagree with a specific law they have a fundamental right to freedom of speech and freedom to protest. These rights are stated in s. 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms but they are not absolute, there are certain regulations that allow the government to intervene if the protest becomes no longer “peaceful” or if the protest shows a compelling reason to do so. But if they disobey or break the law then one will suffer the legal consequences, speeding or parking in a no parking zone will result in a simple fine or charge. The amount will depend on how severe the crime is. Other more serious crimes like assault and murder will result in jail time. Supplementary rules and regulations such as statutes are voluntary, an individual can extract their assent to follow the statutes of society.
Are we obligated to obey the law all the time or are there circumstances where it is acceptable to disobey or disregard the content of a law?
Just like specified in the question and above, the law is an authority but the authority is only valuable if it is acknowledged, otherwise it has no influence in society. So if there is a law that is not being respected then the law enforcement cannot enforce it to a society that will not oblige. There are certain circumstances where it is acceptable to disobey or disregard the law, in a situation where your life is at risk then a citizen has a right to protect it in a manner that may infringe on the life of the unlawful person. Jury nullification is a theory that agrees with this statement whereas if a jury acquits a defendant for doing the illegal act and they still don’t believe they should be prosecuted for their crime. This is used when the jury disagrees with the law or believes it should not be applied in the case, such as self-defence used to protect one’s self in a situation where there life is at risk like described above.