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Legal skills and debates in Scotland
Legal skills and debates in Scotland

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3.2 Differences between law and morality

Behaviour which is commonly regarded as immoral is often also illegal. However, legal and moral principles can be distinguished from each other. For instance, parking on a double yellow line is illegal but not commonly regarded as immoral.

Table 1 Some differences between morality and law
Sanctions are invariably imposed for the infringement of a legal obligationThere is no official sanction for immoral behaviour, although society often creates its own form of censorship
Law is deliberately changed by Parliament and/or the courtsMorality cannot be deliberately changed, rather it evolves slowly
Legal principles need to incorporate a degree of certaintyMorality is invariably much more flexible and variable