What is the difference between law and ethics?
Laws and ethics are guidelines and rules in society. Ethics originated from the society which leads to the development of laws. These two terms are closely related and slightly different.
The main difference between law and ethics is that ethics are the moral values and principles that are adapted socially from the surrounding while Laws are the rules and regulations that are set by the authorities.
The article provides the core difference between law and ethics in a tabular form to enhance easy understanding. Let’s find out more:
What Is Law?
Law is a set of rules and regulations enforced by the authority to control human behaviours for the common good.
Violation of these rules and regulations tend to result in penalties or punishment from the court of law. Examples of penalties are sanctions and punishment is imprisonment.
However, these laws can easily be changed according to the need and demand of maintaining certain conditions in a society.
What Is Ethics?
Ethics are moral values and principles that govern the behaviour of an individual. Ethics help to choose what is right and wrong.
Ethics are highly susceptible to changes due to new inventions, ideas and information. It also tends to vary from nation to nation, culture to culture and country to country.
The good news is that failure to adhere to the ethics do not result in penalties and punishment. However, it fosters one self-respect.
Comparison Chart: Law Vs Ethics
|Definition||Refers to a set of rules and regulation that govern behaviour in society and they enforced by authority||Refers to morals and principles that control the behaviour of individuals in society.|
|Codes||Individuals are required to obey them||Individuals are required to conform to them|
|Governed By||Government||Individual, Legal and Professional norms|
|Violation||Lead to penalties and punishment||No penalties and punishment|
|Type||Occur in a written document||Tend to be non-written|
|Makers||Lawyers and legislature||Religious leaders, philosophers, and elders|
|Application||Country, state and place of crime||Universal and can be applied anywhere|
|Objective||Maintain social order and peace in the society||Help people to choose what is right or wrong|
|Binding||legal binding||Do not have a binding thing|
Main Difference between Law and Ethics
- Laws are a set of rules and regulations enforced by the government or authorities while ethics are morals and principles adapted by society from the environment.
- Failure to follow laws can result in penalties and punishment while ethics do not attract penalties and punishment.
- Laws are made by lawyers and legislature whereas ethics by religious leaders, philosophers and elders in the family.
- Laws are a must to be followed while ethics are values to be considered to be a positive attitude to follow.
- Ethics are prone to changes due to new inventions, ideas and information whereas laws can be changed by authorities based on demand and need for maintaining certain conditions in the society.
- Laws are made from ethics as a guiding principle while ethics are moral values of oneself or society
- Laws tend to be the same in a country while ethics tend to vary from one city to another.
- Religion tends to have a direct impact on ethics while it may or may not have an impact on laws.
- Laws are in a written document whereas ethics are not written
- The court is responsible to decide which law has been broken whereas society judge someone based on ethical issues.
- Laws create a legal binding while ethics do not have a binding thing
Read More: Difference between Articles of Confederation and Constitution
The core difference between law and ethics is that disobey of law attract penalties and punishment while ethics there is no punishment but result in social isolation. However, ethics are a fundamental principle of law.
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