Introduction to the Case
Five explorers get trapped in a cave with limited food supplies and no resource to enable them to sustain their life in the cave. Above the ground, reasonable efforts are made to try and rescue them but with little success. Radio contact is finally established between them and the rescue time was working hard to rescue them. The explorers learn that another ten days would be required in order for them to be rescued. The decision to consult the medical team outside on the chances they have of survival in relation to their current situation who inform them that they are unlikely to survive to the rescue given the likelihood of starvation. One of the explorers Roger Whetmore asked if they were to consume one of the explorers what would have been the chances of their survival which led to a chain of events that resulted to cannibalism and Whetmore was consumed by the other four from a fair selection approach. After the ten days, the explorers were rescued and charged with the murder of Whetmore, and a number of judges picked for the case. Chief Justice Truepenny, Justice Foster, Justice Tatting, Justice Keen and Justice Handy. As per the laws of Newgarth, the mandatory sentence for murder is death by hanging. The four explorers are innocent due to different legal theories and in relation to the case information which has been tabled.
As per the different legal theories, the four explorers are to be found innocent or guilty of the charges. The reasoning of Foster J, Keen J and Handy J based on different Legal theories the decisions of the judges become arguably in different approaches Foster J finds the explorers innocent, the law of nature allows them to agree to sacrifice one of their team members for the sake of the other member's survival. The survival of four lives is more worth as compared to losing the five lives. As long as the decision was agreed by all the explorers, no one was forced into the decision. As per the case, all the explorers agreed to the decision and came up with a fair way of selecting the person to sacrifice. As per the natural law which is doing what is right. Foster j looks at a good way out of the situation, and the explorers are seen to have made the right decision which was to save the bigger number of lifes even if it came at a cost . Keen, J finds the explorers guilty for the murder of Whetmore. As per Handy J, the explorers were innocent where the court should take account of public onion and common sense as well, also aware that 90% of the public want the explorers to face lesser punishment or to be released. The law realism theory where the case is decided based on the majority view in relation to the case applies to the decision made by Handy, J. Many find the explorers decisions in relation to the situation they were faced with as not murder. Keen J finds the explorers guilty of the murder of the charges of murder due to different legal theories starting with positive law which states that the moral considerations are irrelevant in applying the statue. As per Keen yes, this legal theory clearly implies that murder in Newgarth is punishable by death despite the different conditions that have led to death. The law does not provide any different provisions which stipulate on the different causes of the death as well as the other possible punishments.
The different judges have passed different judgment on the case; I tend to find the explorers innocent and side with the two judges Handy J and Foster J. based on different legal theories the explorers were faced with making a decision which they knew the punishment as per the law. Natural law tends to apply to the people when faced with different situation; the right decision counts in the eyes of the law. If a different group of individuals was faced with the same situation what would they have done. For my case saving a life is worth a lot although when faced with taking one life to save many tends to contradict the morality of making the decision. But in the same position, it is worth saving many lives at the expense of a single life. But another thing worth addressing is the willingness of the explorers . All the explorers were faced with the chance to decide whether to participate or not. The decision of doing so was agreed by all hence this means none of the explorers was forced to do so by the others. This gives a good reason behind Foster J decision as well as my decision towards the case. Doing the right thing sometimes does not mean doing what the law stipulates but what is human and what a group of people find right without another persons interference.
The other legal theory most applicable to the case is the law realism which tents to consider the opinion of the majority in relation to a case. And in this case, we find most of the judges, as well as the people, felt that the decisions that the explorers was a decision that most would have gone for despite the law. The law does not define the different situations that may result in the occurrences of murder like in our case. Murder as an incident where the charged person murdered out of selfish motives cannot be pardoned or not found guilty due to realism law since the evidence in the case clearly shows the crime of the person and in search a case the law is to be followed with no other considerations. But in a different case, for instance, the explorers case in the law of realism it is impossible to compare the two situations. Hardy J uses the same legal theory to come up with is verdict as well . The court also finds the public opinion as well as common sense. These are two main concepts common sense, and public opinion matters in the decision the court has to make pertain in a case and I the common sense applicable is that the explorers choose the right decision among the decisions they had.
Keen J find the explorers guilty as per the positive law where the laid down the law has to be followed. This ensures that the people do not break or bend any rule in favor of different situations since this makes the law less effective since the people feel they can bend the law at any given time. Keen J uses this to protect the law. This is the reason as to why Keen J seems to find it that the moral considerations to be irrelevant to the implementing of the law. The law is meant to protect the way people interact with each other despite the different circumstances that face the people. But this seems to contradict with most of the people as well as per my opinion; the law is meant to protect the people but not to be worshipped. Where the opinion of the people contradicts the law, then the peoples opinion should be weighed against the law and whats just should be don but not what to be done is due to the law. This result to the understanding of the natural law theory.
The Case of the Speluncean Explores challenges the decision-making of the court in relation to different situations which tend to need the application of all the legal theories although the natural law and the realism law tend to apply the most depending on my decision on the guilty or not guilty position of the charged explorers. Also, Handy J and Foster J are the judges I tend to concur with their decision in relation to the case since we tend to share similar opinion. But we are all in a position to make a decision depending on how we look at the case. The rule of law also needs to be considered since this governs how people within the country interact with each other.
SECONDARY MATERIAL: JOURNAL
Archer, Margaret, Tony Lawson, and Alan Norrie. Critical realism: Essential readings. Routledge, 2013.
Toh, Kevin. "Jurisprudential Theories and FirstOrder Legal Judgments." Philosophy Compass 8,no. 5 (2013): 457-471.
d'Entreves, Alexander Passerin. Natural law: An introduction to legal philosophy. Routledge, 2017.
Raz, Joseph. "Legal positivism and the sources of law." Arguing About Law 117 (2013).
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