The Origins of Law Law 12 Mr. Laberee
Why do we have laws? • What would a world with no laws be like? • Would anarchy really be that cool? • What do we gain from having a system of laws? • Laws… • prevent disorder and conflict • Provides avenue for settling disputes • establish rules of conduct (often for public safety) • protect rights and freedoms (the Charter…we’ll get to this) • protect people (from criminal acts, negligence, and exploitation) • How do laws accomplish these goals? • Which do you think are accomplished most successfully? Least successfully?
Where did laws come from? • Have human societies always had laws? • What are some examples of early systems of law? • Code of Hammurabi (1750 BCE) • Mosaic Law (1240 BCE) • Justinian Code (550 CE) • Magna Carta (1215 CE) • Napoleonic Code (1804 CE) • Religions also played a huge part in the development of law: “divine right” of Monarchs (Kings, Queens, Emperors, Caliphs/Caliphas, Pharaohs, etc.) • Our modern definition of law includes the idea that laws apply equally to all people within a society, which was not the case with earlier systems • In these early systems, who might have been exempt from having to obey the “laws”? • The leader(s) • Religious officials • Nobles/Aristocrats /Merchants (the elites) • Some people may have been subject to special added laws. Who might they have been? • Religious minorities • Conquered peoples • Women • Slaves
The Origins of Modern Law • Modern Western law: the laws of the land apply equally to all people in a society (country) • “No one is above the law” -> do we achieve this principle? • Laws of various types have been in use for millennia but did not usually apply equally to everyone • In 1215, a document was created that provided the foundations for modern Western law: the Magna Carta • Origins: England – King John I (bad guy in Robin Hood) • the most powerful men in England forced King John to sign the Magna Carta to end his abuses of power • by signing, he gave up the absolute power of the King and became subject to the law
Components of the Magna Carta • Rule of Law • the cornerstone of our legal system; states that the law applies equally to everyone • Habeas Corpus • protects against unlawful/arbitrary imprisonment • “Arbitrary”? -> without justified, acceptable reason • provides the foundations for the right to a trial, as reason for imprisonment must be proven • Using the right to habeas corpus, any time a person is arrested, they have the right to go before a judge to object to the legitimacy of their imprisonment • There must be evidence and a crime to justify denying a person’s freedom