Lecture/Tutorial Notes – Business Law and Ethics Tutorial 1: Introduction – Ethics, Jurisprudence and Justice 2

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Lecture/Tutorial Notes – Business Law and Ethics

Tutorial 1: Introduction – Ethics, Jurisprudence and Justice 2

1.1Introduction to Law, Ethics and Morality 2

What is Law? 2

Ethics 4

1.2Jurisprudence: The Natural School of Law 5

Classical Naturalist Philosophers 5

Modern naturalists 6

In the 20th century, there has been debate over the nature of law 7

1.3Jurisprudence: Other Schools of Law 8

The Positivists 8

The Pure Theory of Law 9

The Neo-Analytical School 10

The American Realists 11

Feminist Legal Theory 11

Utilitarianism 11

1.4The Provision of Justice 12

Tutorial 1: Introduction – Ethics, Jurisprudence and Justice

    1. Introduction to Law, Ethics and Morality

What is Law?

  • Mrs. Dababneh’s Tutorial Defn.
    Law is a set of rules regulating peoples’ interactions with each other with are enforceable through sanctions.

  • Dr. D. Meltz
    Law is a complex system of social control, regulating conduct and governing ruled between various relationships. It adjudicates disputes and punishes offenders, thus preventing vigilantism, violence and the breakdown of social order.

  • H. L. A. Hart Concept of Law
    “The most prominent general feature of law … is that its existence means that certain kinds of human contact are no longer optional but in some sense obligatory”
    A law is a social rule which is obligatory and physically sanctioned

Influences on Law

  • Religion
    e.g. the laws of marriage (same sex marriage illegal after religious moralities)

  • History
    e.g. land law

  • Politics
    e.g. WorkChoices: Howard implementing them and Rudd reversing them as per their political persuasions

  • Economic influences and theory
    e.g. Trade Practices Act strongly influenced by the economic theory of competition

  • English “common law”
    though Australian and British legal systems have since diverged due to GB joining the EU and adopting many of their adversarial law based laws

  • Regional and int’l developments
    e.g. AUSFTA and other free trade agreements

Expectations on the law

  • Law is expected to provide the “Rule of Law”, as well as justice in society. This includes the following precepts central to the “Rule of Law”

    • Law applies equally to all citizens

    • One cannot be punished for actions that aren’t expressly illegal

    • Law is not retrospective

Types of Law

There are two main types of law – the Common Law system (as used in Australia, Britain and many other Commonwealth nations) and the Adversarial system (as used in most of mainland Europe)

  • The Common Law System is based on “common judgments for common crimes”

    • Judge is neutral, elected by peers and decides the sentence

    • There is a jury of common man, who decide the facts of the case

  • The Adversarial System is based on a series of codified laws (i.e. derived from Roman law, etc.)

In many ways, the minor courts of Australia are moving towards an adversarial system, especially in Family law.


Defining Ethics:

  • Ethics are a moral standard that encode a consensus on social interactions and right and wrong in society (Mrs. Dababneh). Ethics “Inquires into the moral values of human behavior and conduct, analyzing ‘how we ought to act’”.

    • These are derived from Reason, Custom and Education

    • People act ethically to preserve Reputation (the relative esteem in which one is held) and Character within a particular industry or social group. This in turn confers legitimacy.

  • Ethics are the system encapsulating moral values and beliefs through which human actions are judged and moral duties and obligations are established (Dr. D. Meltz)

Ethics balances the following attributes:









Moral courage


Belief in self

Inner strength







Moral cowardice

There is current debate on whether or not morality should be legally enforced:

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