Honesty and Integrity

When I applied for admission to the roll of solicitors in 1974 it was a requirement that applicants be interviewed by a panel of the Law Society. At my interview I was asked what the two most important qualities were of a solicitor. I replied that I thought honesty and integrity were the most important qualities. The panel asked me what was the difference between honesty and integrity. Continue reading

The Trends of 2015

It is almost shirtsleeve weather in London. The quiet interregnum between Christmas and New Year is usually a time of cold dark days, but this year has been warm and bright in London.

Soon the media will start their reviews of 2015, and tell us who did what, who succeeded, who failed and who died. These reviews seem to avoid the trends which are becoming more prevalent. Most of these trends move in undesirable directions. Here are some examples:

  1. The trend of police everywhere to be more ready to use weapons and more ready to use violence in circumstances that do not require it.
  2. The trend of governments everywhere to be more authoritarian and less liberal.
  3. The trend of joining wars because “something must be done” without bothering to think whether doing something as opposed to doing nothing will make things worse.
  4. The trend of lawmakers to enact new laws, bad laws detailed laws which wrongly regulate the lives of people.
  5. The trend of cowardice, which in all kinds of ways, is displacing courage.
  6. The trend of promoting law, at the expense of justice.

No Justice

If you are a poor person or a moderately wealthy person and find yourself charged with a criminal offence and you are innocent, the consequences of proving your innocence (for that is what you have to do in practice despite learned legal theory to the contrary) can be ruinous. In order to get a defence you will have to lay out your savings, sometimes even sell your home, to pay the lawyers to defend you. You cannot into today’s complicated legal world, defend yourself competently, even if you are used to dealing in legal matters without an expensive legal team. The Government refused to lay out taxpayers’s money on these defence costs. The Government has decided that this is just, and such a person that I have described, on being found not guilty by the courts, would be lucky, under a present system, to recover a small fraction of what that person has laid out to in defence costs. Being found not guilty means ruin, not prison. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

The Rule of Law Does Not Exist

The rule of law is an inconvenient concept for rulers. King Charles II thought that he was above the law, as did King Henry VIII. Dictators often pay lip service to the rule of law, and act as if they were to law. However the concept of law being a force which limits rulers powers is an old concept and was developed in what are now the Western Democracies as a means of controlling the excesses of tyrants and making them accountable to those they rule. Unfortunately in most western democracies the rule of law is ignored from time to time when law and justice proves and obstacle in achieving political aims. Continue reading

Witch Hunts

Witch hunts are things that move in and out of fashion. It usually starts with a scandal which has carried on for several years and which is a serious perversion of the way in which a society is supposed to operate. Once the scandal is publicised society starts a witch hunt on the assumption that there are many other similar scandals that have been suppressed and which now must be brought to light. Continue reading

Police Bullies

There have been what seems to be an increasing number of incidents where police behave in their dealings with ordinary citizens in ways that are bullying, violent and inappropriate. There seems to be many such incidents in the Southern parts of the USA where police have, as far as I can tell from police webcam videos installed in their cars, behave with undue aggression. The latest incident led to the death of Sandra Bland in a police jail after Miss Bland was stopped for failing to signal – Continue reading