• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the meaning of 'justice'. Consider the extent to which justice is achieved in the application of legal rules. Relate your answer to examples drawn from civil law, criminal law or both

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the meaning of 'justice'. Consider the extent to which justice is achieved in the application of legal rules. Relate your answer to examples drawn from civil law, criminal law or both When the dictionary definitions of justice are considered, it is difficult to interpret a straightforward meaning of justice as the definitions can vary. Osborn's Concise Law Dictionary defines justice as 'the upholding of rights, and the punishment of wrongs, by the law'. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines justice as 'just conduct; fairness; exercise of authority in maintenance of right. (Just = acting or done in accordance with what is morally right or proper.) (Fair = free from discrimination, dishonesty... in conformity with rules or standards.)' In the first definition, it is defined that unjust conduct is that which is punishable by law, and although there is a certain level of ambiguity, a clear connection between law and justice can be seen. The second definition draws more of a connection between morality and justice; acts which are immoral are unjust. ...read more.

Middle

Natural law theorists believe that all law comes from a higher source, which is superior to man made law and is based on moral rules. Aristotle believed this source could be nature whereas St Aquinas believed it was God. Some natural law theorists even believe it's permissible to break laws if they do not conform with moral rules. St Aquinas believed that laws went against the public and had no legitimacy, however he would not agree with breaking laws which would cause public disruption, as he believed this would have been against the will of God. Positivists believe that providing a law is made according to the correct procedures, it should be followed whether or not it conflicts with morality. Kelsen believed that law and morality are entirely different concepts. He believed justice was an expression of individual preferences and values and that it was just not scientifically possible to define justice. Utilitarians assess the justice of rules by looking at their consequences. The philosophy was developed during the nineteenth century, mostly from the writings of Bentham and Mill. ...read more.

Conclusion

In terms of substantial justice, mistakes have been rectified by the introduction of such things as the practice statement. It is important that the law is allowed to change its mind, to a certain extent, as the opinion of society develops and some ideas go from right to wrong. The practice statement has also given judges in the House of Lords to avoid awkward precedents, as in Merritt v Merritt where the court avoid the precedent from Balfour v Balfour. One of the most important factors is the conscience of the jury. Sometimes the decision of the jury will almost go against the evidence given in order to reach a decision which they consider to be just. It is important for judges to remember that no two crimes are alike in the proportionality of sentencing. They must find the right punishment to fit the crime and the person who committed it. The judge must also try to balance conflicting interests as best they can. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Machinery of Justice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Machinery of Justice essays

  1. Critically analyse the relationship between law and justice.

    A further example of substantive justice is equity, which was developed to enable the courts to do justice where the common law prevented it, by recognising new rights such as the rights of a beneficiary under a trust and new remedies such as the injunction and the order for specific performance.

  2. Describe the different aims of sentencing.

    A Curfew Order is where an offender is ordered to remain at a fixed address for a minimum of two hours up to a maximum of twelve hours in a twenty-four hour period. Electronic tagging is often used in this type of sentence with certain offenders and they have a

  1. I will look at different black theologies and different theories of justice, and attempt ...

    Firstly the principle of liberty - that people must be allowed the freedom to pursue the kind of life they would wish to lead provided it does not directly or indirectly harm another. Secondly, the principle of difference, where it is assumed that people are different and will have different aims or goals in life.

  2. What Impact will Formalising Plea Bargaining have on Justice and Equality in the English ...

    instructions and a host of tactical manoeuvres made by counsel keen to advance their clients' interests. The contemporary American trial provides a defendant with every method to strongly contest the charges against him, but in doing so has become very expensive and time consuming.

  1. Free essay

    Critically discuss whether the criminal courts of England and Wales require substantial reform. Firstly ...

    1972 on a point of law after a discharge on the accusation. The House of Lords is the final court of appeal on points of law for the whole of the United Kingdom and Wales in criminal cases. In criminal cases, the House of Lords may hear appeals from the

  2. Explain and comment on the main reforms made to the civil justice system after ...

    If either of you wish to view the material listed then you may do so, this is known as the 'inspection' process. Although you (and the defence) have an opportunity to obtain expert reports or witness statements, I feel that this is not necessary for you in this matter.

  1. Free essay

    Examine the relationship between law and morals. Consider the extent to which the law ...

    The committee took three years to come to a general consensus and to make 3 recommendations. Their consensus was ' The function of the criminal law is to preserve public order and decency and to protect the civilisation from what is offensive of injurious...'

  2. Access to Civil Justice in This Age of Austerity

    an individual is entitled to legal advice is under scrutiny by the Law society, the body representing solicitors and the chairman of the Bar Council has expressed: âThe bill's proposals will cause great harm to ordinary people. We continue to make the case for access to justice in the strongest terms.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work