Many laws but little Justice

Is our Legal system fair and can we call it Justice? Or are we in a system favoring the elite whilst enhancing the gap between the rich and poor. We have thousands of Laws and this is growing each day. Is this helping us or are we building even bigger inequalities.

For many years now I have been trying to understand our legal system and whether it is just and moral, and if we can call it Justice.

The number of laws in the EU including legislations, non binding acts, verdicts, and standards amount to around 135 000, and this does not include the laws in each different country. In the US alone there are around 23 000 pages of federal Laws. There are so many that to this day they cannot be tallied up. To further heighten the problem, new laws are being added in the thousands each year. Clearly we have become a law-making machine. It is probable that each person is breaking a least one law each day without knowing it. This is especially disconcerting knowing that it is each citizens responsibility to know, respect and obey the laws of the land.

By having so many laws do we have better Justice? Understanding the laws in governance is a phenomenal task and cannot be done by one single person. This means that law is on the side of those who can afford to pay for many lawyers and helpers to exploit the right laws. Unfortunately, the poor are left with minimal subsidized support and thus little chance of benefiting from the multitude of laws in place to protect them. For Law to be just it must be equal for everyone. Clearly it is biased to the wealthy, and thus fails to be just. 

For Law to be morally right it must be applied in the same way to all without prejudice. Judges are humans, they get tired, frustrated, happy, exited, and can be influenced just as anyone one else. The only difference is that they studied Law and had the ambition to become judges. They are prone to liking people, disliking, bored, aggravated as anyone else. I don’t doubt that Judges know Law, but have they been taught wisdom? In other words, just by the fact that Judges are just like you and me, we can exclude that Law is morally fair.  Every judgement is made by a different person, in a different state of mind and influenced by different factors. I’m sure that they have many different ways to minimize this impact, but it cannot be totally removed. 

The justice system is also swamped with new requests each day. This puts our legal system under time pressure. Youth are being judged after years of having committed the offence. A youth of 14 is very different after 1 or 2 years when he is finally judged. It’s just like disciplining a dog a few days after he has committed the offence. For Law to have an impact and be just, it must be carried out directly and within the local community. Petty crime is best disciplined quickly and effectively in the local communities. There are many ways to do this and in the Netherlands they are trialling “Supersnelrecht” which is translated as super fast law. This must be done within 3 days and is applied to handle cases like open violence, loud behaviour and destruction of property. This can be used to relieve the workload from the central legal systems.

We have a growing group of middle aged to senior citizens, whose wisdom and knowledge should be used to help. Each community should empower some well-chosen local burgher under legal guidance and clear regulations to handle the smaller infractions affecting the community. For example a youth caught in an act of vandalism, can be judged by a board of "wise men" to pre-defined and agreed punishments like clean up duty, helping sick people etc... This would not only involve citizens back in the community, but also bring some real justice.

This is only a small overview of what is wrong with the justice system governing us, and I think is enough to make us all think it is time to review how we want our society to be judged.

Date created: 15/08/2015       Date modified: 02/09/2021
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