Thanks to Bill Irwin for valuable comments on an earlier version of this paper.
Legislating Morality: Scoring the Hart-Devlin Debate after Fifty Years
Article first published online: 20 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Author. Ratio Juris © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 25, Issue 2, pages 117–132, June 2012
How to Cite
BASSHAM, G. (2012), Legislating Morality: Scoring the Hart-Devlin Debate after Fifty Years. Ratio Juris, 25: 117–132. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9337.2012.00506.x
- Issue published online: 20 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 20 MAY 2012
It has now been more than 50 years since H. L. A Hart and Lord Patrick Devlin first squared off in perhaps the most celebrated jurisprudential debate of the twentieth-century (1959–1967). The central issue in that dispute—whether the state may criminalize immoral behavior as such—continues to be debated today, but in a vastly changed legal landscape. In this article I take a fresh look at the Hart-Devlin debate in the light of five decades of social and legal changes.