5.4 Adapting the Law to Social Change

Adapting the law to social change is continually necessary as populations shift, culture evolves, and circumstances alter.

5.4.1  Legislation in Response to Change

politicians like to be seen to be ‘doing something’, but new legislation is sometimes clumsy

5.4.2  Judges Establishing New Legal Precedents

social change can be accommodated within existing legislation, if it is not too prescriptive

5.4.3  Acceptability of the Law in a Changing Society

most people need to respect the law if large-scale infringement is to be avoided

5.4.4  Legislation on Morally Controversial Issues

for example: legalising abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and drug-use

5.4.5  Legal Limits to Free Speech

freedom of speech is an important human right, but some limits are necessary

5.4.6  Prohibiting Ethnically Divisive Language

it is important to prohibit the stoking of ethnic tensions that could cause violence

5.4.7  The Safeguard of Human Rights Law

it can protect people’s basic dignity, freedom, and economic needs

The next chapter analyses political authority and its relationship to the population.



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