Social norms are general rules and patterns of behavior that have evolved in society as a result of long-term practical activities of people, during which optimal standards and models of correct behavior have been formed.
Social norms are characterized by the fact that they are:
- rules of the persons’ behavior, indicating what their actions should be;
- general rules of conduct;
- not only general, but also mandatory rules of behavior of people in society, which are provided for this purpose by the compulsory methods of influence.
Morality is one of the ways to regulate a person's behavior in society by means of norms. Morality is a known set of historically developing and developing life principles, views, beliefs and norms of behavior based on them, defining and regulating people's relations to each other, society, state, family, collective, class, surrounding reality. This concept also includes psychological moments: emotions, interests, motives, attitudes and other components. The concept of the right and wrong occupies a central place. The conditions of normal life of people demanding human responsibility for their behavior are expressed, first of all, in morality. And only secondarily they are expressed in a "morally practiced" form which is perceived by the state, and, as a result, a "criminalistic part" of legal matter - criminal law and adjoining legal units (including corrective, penitentiary law) is formed.
Unlike legal norms, moral norms are less formalized, they are provided not by public enforcement, but by public opinion, by assessments from others. In contrast to the legal ones, which are characterized by prohibitions as well as permits, moral norms, their influence is exerted by evaluation meters of the type "right - wrong", "just - unjust", etc. Despite their difference in the methods of influencing public behavior, law and morality are closely related and complement one another. In general, moral standards reinforce the legal, as well as violation of legal norms entails moral condemnation. Condemnation of the violator by the power of public opinion is a powerful regulatory tool. Often legal norms fix the action of moral ones.
Morality acts as an internal self-regulator of the individual's behavior, his conscious, internally motivated way of participating in social life and social relations.
The main difference between the law and morality is a state security of law. This difference is fundamental difference not only between law and morality, but also between law and any other social regulator. By imposing an obligation on individuals and legal entities, the law has such instruments of influence that enable it to achieve the required behavior. Historically, the reason of law introduction is that in the new conditions, other regulators, including morality, were insufficient to ensure organization and order, protect the producer from a special case and arbitrariness. Properties of the law met this requirement.