Law and Morality

Difference between law and morality
Law prescribes external conduct and even though the law looks for a motive and this motive has to be followed by an action a person cannot be tried for having only evil thoughts. Law requires action to have been undertaken, together with the intention of thought of committing an action. Morals prescribe internal conduct but they do not necessarily need to be accompanied by an action which is a major difference between law and a moral. Immoral actions can be controversial in a society, morals are based on feelings as well as beliefs which often stem from religion. Whilst a wicked thought can be morally wrong, without an action it can be considered unlawful.
Some people strongly believe that morals are important and essential foundation for a civilised society to live by and without some form of moral standard our way of life will slowly decease. This view was held by a senior judge Lord Devlin as he stated ‘without moral values society is threatened’
This statement and the factor of a disintegrating society might be considered has exaggeration but the point of whether the person has the right to behave in any way he wishes, even in private has caused much debate in the 21st century. Whilst issues arise such as euthanasia and or genetic engineering are current queries for our government, rules surrounding morality, such as having rights to contraceptive aid or the act of abortion caused major debate in the 20th century and these were classed as criminal offences.
The conflict on law and morality has always raised questions such as: should society have the right to judge what is morally right and wrong and then use the law to enforce their own views of morality? Many writers, scientists, philosophers etc have attempted to define law versus morality down through history such as John Austin, Stuart mills, Professor Hart, Thomas Hobbs and Thomas Aquinas.
By the 20 century the law had developed so it did not follow that actions...