Every month, in a relaxed location in central London the London Legal Salon will meet to discuss the big questions facing the law today. Attendance is always free. This blog will publish articles by attendees and the organisers to supplement the debates at our monthly meetings.







Every meeting will be introduced by a short talk from a lawyer or commentator in the area under examination. The discussion will then be opened to those attending to make contributions or ask questions. The meetings will last around ninety minutes and operate under Chatham House rules.







The discussions and the articles on this website will look to scrutinise the black letter of the law and its implications in the Courts and wider society. They will also look to situate the law in its historical and political context. We hope that by developing an understanding of where the law has come from, and why the law has taken the form it has today, we may begin to form an idea of where we want it to go.







Saturday, 14 June 2014

Are we all legal positivists now?

The next meeting of the London Legal Salon will be on Thursday the 17th of July at 1930.  The venue will be the Perseverance pub in Holborn http://www.the-perseverance.moonfruit.com/

To book a place and to receive the readings please email londonlegalsalon@gmail.com.

The question of the connection between the law and morality is central to the history of legal philosophy. The debate, which has lasted from Ancient Greece to the present day, has been dominated by two broad categories of theory: natural law theory and legal positivism. Classical natural law theorists like Aristotle argued that laws were necessarily connected to man’s moral life, and had as their aim some higher moral – or divine – framework. Legal positivists, whose arguments dominated the 20th Century, argued that natural law theory confused the issue of what the law is and what it ought to be, and that laws could have authority irrespective of whether or not they were ‘good’.

Today, lawyers and Judges tend to think of their role as entirely morally neutral. The idea that the law should reflect, in some way, public morality seems a bit outdated. Why is this? Is it simply because natural law theory has been convincingly defeated? Perhaps the triumph of legal positivism reflects a collapse of moral consensus in wider society? Is there anything from natural law theory worth saving?

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