Definition: The school of thought that believes that the only source of law is written law that is adopted, practiced, and enforced in society by the government and legal systems.
- Written – so that all citizen knew their obligations, rights, and consequences
- Curb judicial discretion – preventing emotional involvement
- Jeremy Bentham – “greatest good for the greatest number” & Utilitarian
- John Austin – Law is separate from justice and issued by the sovereign
- H.L.A Hart – Separation Thesis
Separation thesis: having a legal right to do x doesn’t entail having a moral right to
do it, and vice versa; having a legal obligation to do something doesn’t entail
having a moral right to do it, and vice versa; having a legal justification to do
something doesn’t entail having a moral justification, and vice versa; etc.
The ultimate test of the validity of legal positivism is whether the presence of explicit rules deters undesirable behaviour.”
- Clearly outlines rights, freedoms, and obligations
- Sets a standard of Practice
- Structures and stabilize society
- Punishes all crimes regardless of motives
- Very Strict
- Does not consider individual and societal factors
- More difficult to challenge and change laws
- Description: Tale- Yax was a homeless man stabbed to death after saving a woman harassed by a knife-wielding attacker.
- 25 people walked by without trying to get him help.
- 1 person lifted the body and saw the blood but still simply left without calling 911.
- 1 Person simply took a picture and walked away
- No arrests were made.