In any legal system , norms are established that must be complied with. This means that there are obligations that must necessarily be respected by individuals or legal entities. Therefore, within the legal scope there is the concept of legal duty which consists of the imposition of obligations or duties.
Regardless of the legal context, the term duty refers to everything that is considered an obligation . On many occasions, duties are not related to personal desires, but rather to what is considered proper and convenient. The idea of legal duty has two dimensions, one associated with law and the other with philosophy.
A basic element in the structure of legal norms
This concept incorporates each of the established standards. In this way, a concrete prohibition implies the idea of legal duty.
The behavior of individuals under the law must be subject to legal duty. In this sense, there is an objective character of the rules, with the purpose of protecting the interests of the community.
For a rule or rule to have a legal value it is necessary to incorporate some kind of legal coercion.
In other words, there is a legal duty as long as the violation of a norm is accompanied by some type of coercion or punishment.
When an individual commits an unlawful or unlawful action, it means that they are acting against their legal duty. Let’s assume that a person does not fulfill a rental contract because he does not pay the owner’s monthly fee. In this case, the legal duty refers to the obligation that the person has to comply with what is established in the contract.
Respect for the law from the Kantian point of view
Respect for legal norms implies a certain moral sense . Enlightenment philosopher Inmanuel Kant stated that the legal duty consists in the need to carry out a certain action, as the law must be respected.
In other words, we should not comply with a legal norm because we agree with it, but rather because of its moral sense that requires us to respect laws in general.
For Kant, legal duty and respect for the law are closely related concepts. It should be emphasized that, in Kantian thought , morality is inspired by personal self-convince, that is, by the individual’s autonomy.
Consequently, respect for the law should not be based on fear of possible punishment, but on moral duty. When the moral duty is transferred to the legal field, it becomes a legal duty.