Law vs. Ethics

Difference between Law and Ethics

The term, “Ethics” is a term which has its origins in the Latin word, “Ethos” meaning “Character” which combines with another Latin word, “mores” denoting “custom”, a combination of which provides the definite meaning to Ethics.

The terms, Law and Ethics are extremely significant terms that are closely related to the science of management. Defining Law precisely is a set of universally accepted rules that are framed, and generally enforced. On the contrary, Ethics describes how individual person would opt to interrelate with each other. It is hence clearly understood that law and ethics are both applicable to people from all walks of life as well as to all professions alike. The exact characterization of Law consists of terms like universal, enforced, accepted, published and consistent. The universality of Law is essential since its requirements should be pertinent to one and all. The consistency of Law is necessary since there cannot be two different and contradictory requirements in law as people cannot be expected to obey both the requirements.


These specific requirements are necessarily to be in a documented form and therefore a Law is published in its written form. These requirements are required to be obeyed to the letter and thus a law is accepted in its true significance. The law is considered to be enforced since as the requirements are to be strictly adhered to by the members of a Society. Disobedience of the law entails strict punishment to the individual concerned whereas if a person does not comply with the tenets of ethics, he is not legally responsible and thus cannot be handed over any punishment.

On the other hand, Ethics contain in knowledge what is correct and what is incorrect and performing in the right manner. It is rather of interest to observe that ethical decisions entail varied penalties, results, fallouts, alternatives and implications of a personal nature. Ethics cannot in any way be forced upon on people and thus cannot be expected to follow. It is not compulsory that Ethics conform to universality. They are also are not required to published in any way, rather the code of ethics entirely relies on an individual to individual basis along with the option of the individual person pertaining to the terms of his intermingling with various other members of the society that he is living in.