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Critically discuss different possible meanings of justice and explore the relationship between law and justice.

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Introduction

Critically discuss different possible meanings of justice and explore the relationship between law and justice. "The law" has been described by Sir John Salmond as "a body of principles recognised and applied by the state in the administration of justice". Whereas John Austin defined law as a command issued from a sovereign power to an inferior and enforced coercion". Laws apply are compulsory and must be followed by all members of society, for example, the Offences Against the Person Act (1861) applied to and for everyone. Parliament creates laws and the laws are enforced by official bodies, such as the police. Non-compliance with laws can results in punishment, such as imprisonment, fines etc. "Justice" can be defined in basic terms as "fairness" and "equality". To define it elaborately would be difficult due to the fact that people perceive it in various ways. "Distributive justice" was put for by Aristotle between people within society. He believed that justice is achieved through rewarding people on their merit and contribution to society. So for example, if you're a hard worker, it would be unfair for you to be given the same amount of a indolent worker, such as pensioners - who work and pay full for 30 years to receive a full state pension. ...read more.

Middle

The relationship between law and justice can be assessed by looking at the distinction between "Procedural" law and "substantive" law. Procedural law is the way in which laws are made and operate and the extent to which they achieve justice. One example of procedural justice is natural law itself. This has two basic principles of justice; hearing has to be impartial, it cannot be bias. For example, in the Pinochet case, Pinochet was the Chilean dictator who was subject to appeal at the House of Lords by the Human Right Organisation Amnesty International who wanted Pinochet extradited to Spain to face human rights charges. However, one of the law lords hearing the case was Lord Hoffman, whose wife was director of A.I, so a new hearing had to be ordered because this was considered bias. The second principle is the fact that the D has to be heard. For example, in Ridge V Baldwin, a chief constable was dismissed without being allowed to give his side of the case. The decision was then overturned, because he should have been given a right to. This then makes the process fair. The social justice theorist Rawls would have supported natural law. He believed that everyone should be entitles to a right to fair trial, and that this was the important part. ...read more.

Conclusion

there being close ties of love and affecting and the direct perception of sight and sound of the incident, which were designed to limit liability. It can be said that this is unfair, because in this case, loved ones had to see their loved ones crushed to death etc on television from the Hillsborough disaster, but they still couldn't claim. However, it can be argued that these control mechanisms are put forward to limit liability, thus keeping the floodgates of litigation closed so that not everyone that claims will be able to sue. Utilitarianists view of society is that we should encourage public benefit, which in this case, would be closing the floodgates, whereas on the other hand, Aristotle in respect of corrective justice woul disagree with this due to the fact the victim would not have received anything in return. No would be no correction of loss the have sufferent. In conclusion to everything discussed, it appears that the legal system aims to promote justice, such as legal aid, and the right to be trialled. However, this is not always successful, as demonstrated in cases such as the mandatory life sentence, and psychiatric harm. Both these example of illustrations where the justice can either be given to one side, whereas the other side suffers. The questioned asked is which side would be more beneficial for society i.e. a utilitarianists view point. ...read more.

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