Hart refutes

    • Hart also rejects Devlin’s argument that the fact that certain acts done in public cause offence and are criminalised on this basis means that they are being punished on the grounds of being inherently immoral. Hart draws a distinction between private immorality and public nuisance. Some acts, viewed privately as fine e.g. marital intercourse is still a nuisance when conducted in public. Equally some acts viewed traditionally as immoral per se, e.g. prostitution are not a public nuisance when conducted in private. Therefore just because there is a justification for punishing an act when committed in public does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that it is right to punish it when conducted in private. What about where people are caused offence/distress simply to know that such actions go on at all- does this make Hart’s distinction false? He says no: If it is true that offence incident to the knowledge that someone is doing an act that one considers wrong is “harm”, and it is right to prevent people from inflicting harm on each other, then nobody would be free to act except in a way that people generally feel is acceptable i.e. barely any activity. The law is not and should not be concerned with this type of harm- we do not punish people just because others object to what they do. – Sponsored by abogados de accidentes de carro