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Law and Justice

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Introduction

What is meant by justice? Consider to what extent the law promotes justice. In England and Wales, a defendant is prosecuted under the Criminal Justice system for a crime. This is the clearest example that English law is based around the concept of justice. Lord Denning wrote: "If people are to feel a sense of obligation to the law, then the law must correspond as near as may be, to justice." This principle is essential to any legal system: if it fails to serve the public in a fair, just and reasonable way, it will not be observed. But what does justice mean, and to what degree, and by what methods is justice endorsed and promoted by the law. One of the fundamental tenets in which scholars have examined the law and justice is the theory of Natural law, primarily examined by Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas. The BC Greek philosopher Aristotle, proposed the meaning of justice to be a method of allowing people to fulfil themselves as members of society. This principle came in two parts: distributive justice, the mechanism by which assets such as wealth and honours were allocated amongst a community, and corrective justice, the principles by which the state should correct unfairness and restore equality. ...read more.

Middle

Finally, there are the Rules of Evidence, which state that evidence used in court must have been obtained through fair means. For example, in the case of R v Watts, the conviction based upon previous convictions used as evidence was quashed, as the Court of Appeal judge that their prejudicial effect outweighed their value as evidence. These procedural rules promote justice, because they ensure to a reasonable degree that the vital processes which lead to a conviction, or a confirmation of civil liability, are fair, and free from prejudice which might invalidate them, and lead to miscarriages of justice. If the process by which law is executed is unjust from the start, then the outcome will always be so. Substantive justice involves several subcategories of the law. Firstly, rectifying mistakes as any system of law will have errors and miscarriages of justice which must have a method of repeal. The Prosecution have the chance to appeal a judges ruling on a point of law during a trial, and the Defence can appeal against the verdict or sentence afterwards. The Attorney-General can appeal against an unduly lenient sentence, and miscarriages such as those of the Birmingham Six and Guilford Four let to the establishment of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which prevents further unfairness. ...read more.

Conclusion

None of this was properly assessed in court, leading to his unanimous conviction. The CCRC is now asking the CPS to consider reviewing similar cases where DNA is now available, and the defendant is still alive. In conclusion, the law does not promote justice as much as it should do, due to failures in a few key areas, such as sentencing, and various factors leading to the recent surge in miscarriages of justice. It should still be noted however that the legal system is by and large a fair mechanism for the execution of justice, with the Human Rights Act 1998 ensuring that it follows the ECHR, and with organisations such as the Criminal Cases Review Commission working to find and highlighted miscarriages of justice. The problem comes from the fact that a perfect justice can never be obtained, and there will never be a case in which all parties feel they have been treated in truly fair manner. This is why there comes a point where the courts must make a decision and abide by it, whilst balancing the interests of all parties involved, to achieve the best justice they can. It is easy in hindsight to condemn the courts for miscarriages of justice, without considering the stress that outside influences, and certainly the media, place on hasty convictions. ?? ?? ?? ?? Christopher Reading A2 Law ...read more.

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