Justice and the Rule of Law

Justice, as the Greeks knew, is very close to morality and righteousness. It is the glue that holds the individual in society, for without justice the individual has no business being in society. The rule of law is the concept that everyone, particularly governments and their officials, are not above the law, but are subject to the laws they make and that those laws provide certainty and enable people to live reasonably in society.

Justice, without the rule of law is possible but difficult to achieve, because it provides an individual with no certainty about his or her interactions with society. The rule of law without justice is merely elected dictatorship. Justice should prevent bad laws being enacted or being enforced.

It is every person’s duty to respect the rule of law, but that rule of law should be subject to an over riding duty of an individual to do justice.

Society is becoming increasing large and increasingly complicated as a result. Humans no longer organise themselves into small city states which exercise a light and temporary jurisdiction over surrounding countryside, but into large interlinked nations. the inhabitants increasingly have global intercourse as a result of trade across nations and as a result of technology which has enabled communications across the world to be rapid and cheap.

These factors require increasing laws to protect individuals, but the concentration of most legal systems is to protect the vested interests and those that have great wealth. We humans have lost the concept of justice in the maze of laws.

 

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