Is justice about order?

The maxims are first, that the individual is not accountable to society for his actions, in so far as these concern the interests of no person but himself

   --  Stuart Mill

Trade is justice

The principle of trade is the only rational ethical principle for all human relationships, personal or social, private and public, spiritual and material. It is the principle of justice.

   --  Ayn Rand

Government above the law

“A private citizen who resorts to physical force and violates the rights of others is a criminal- and men have legal protection against him. A government is more dangerous, it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims when unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights.”

   --  Ayn Rand

Michael Sandel 


Justice lecture

  • Habeas corpus (the principle that the state cannot hold citizens without charge and due legal process) 
  • trial by jury (the principle that in legal actions defendants' guilt or innocence is to be determined by fellow citizens, and not by the state and its functionaries).
  • Common law (under which the law grows by judge-made precedent, flexibly and pragmatically, without government intervention and often without appeal to statute of any kind),
  • Separation of the powers and the independence of the judiciary from the executive,
  • equality before the law (where that equality applies to everyone, including the highest officers of the state),
  • double jeopardy (defendant cannot be charged twice for the same offence) and the presumption of innocence, and
  • an adversarial system of court procedure (in which two sides present a case and seek the court's judgement) instead of an inquisitorial (in which an official prosecutor, an agent of the state, tries to establish guilt or innocence by questioning).
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that most European nations do not have the same legal and constitutional institutions and traditions as those found in the English-speaking world, and they also have sorry histories of instability, dictatorship and authoritarianism. 

Why is history important? It is not just about  what has happened, is is about lessons learnt and which progress has been made under which system.
For instance, Richard the 3rd, In his two short years as King, reshaped vital aspects of the legal system, developing
  •  the presumption of innocence
  •  the concept of blind justice
  • and practice of granting bail rather than being held in jail
Quite often these concepts are under attack, and know the history allows us to explain why they came into being.

Defence Lawyers

When you need them, they're your best friend. When you're the victim, they're your enemy.
People should be grateful for defence lawyers getting in and holding the system to account and making sure citizens aren't being wrongly convicted. Everyone should want the system to be just and fair and accurate
Everyone pays lip-service to the concept that those accused of crimes must have a strong defence.
They're maligned as tearing up norms of courtroom civility by tearing down victims in cross-examination "They're scum who represent scum".
"People connect the defence lawyer with the crime," says Stevenson, "and say you're defending what happened – which of course isn't true."

Stevenson says this automatic presumption of guilt is reinforced by the way crimes are reported. "Police have been very good in confusing the link between offence, arrest and guilt, in a very slick confabulation. It's really problematic when police hold a press conference and say, 'We're glad we've resolved this matter,' when they arrest someone for murder."
What this does, says Stevenson, is tip on its head the fundamental concept of innocent until proven guilty, making it seem that if the cops say you did something, then you're guilty, unless you can prove otherwise at trial.

Why do lawyers act for people they know are guilty?" Firstly, because there aren't enough innocent people to go around.
But the second part of that, is what kind of s...arse system would we have if most of the people that were charged, were in fact innocent? So we have to keep the system safe, in case innocent people do fall into it.
International research estimates between 3-5 per cent of those jailed are factually innocent.

A conservative is a liberal who's been burgled, and a liberal is a conservative who's been accused of something they didn't do. But if you want to wait till you're the victim of such a thing and then worry about having a justice system that can help you, well, you've left it too late, haven't you.

The defence lawyer's role is to guide a defendant through a complex system and get the best outcome for them.

The onus is on the prosecution to prove the charge to a very high standard. The defence don't have to prove anything. And it's not surprising the system would resource the prosecution to be able to carry out that difficult job.