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

Secret Swaps

Another, yes another banking scandal is emerging. After the PPI mis selling (or fraud to use a more accurate description) to individuals and after the sale of interest rate hedging products scandal to medium sized businesses scandal, it has now emerged that the banks were selling secret swaps to customers. What they did was this: they agreed fixed rate loans with customers which customers wanted to protect themselves from future interest rate rises. That is fair enough; a customer makes a decision on wanting a fixed and floating rate, and if the customer opts for a fixed rate that is what the customer expects to get, but expectation and reality are two different things in the world of banking. Continue reading

Democracy and Freedom and Global Corporations

As societies become wealthier and more sophisticated and have to concentrate less on preventing starvation and basic survival, so they become more interested in democracy and freedom. This is a generalisation and like all generalisations there are important exceptions; in some oppressed poor societies people may feel that they have nothing to lose but to try to agitate for freedom in the hope that freedom and democracy will provide less starvation and more wealth, but it is hard to fight for freedom on an empty stomach and harder to fight for freedom on a stomach that is extended with too much food. Continue reading

The Inconvenience of a Just Legal System

The Chief Justice of Sri Lanka used to be Shirani Bandaranayake but she was impeached recently and removed from office. The International Bar Association’ s Human Rights Institute was going to send four lawyers from its Human Rights Institute to investigate the removal of the former Chief Justice, because there were concerns that the impeachment was irregular and motivated by political reasons rather than proper legal reasons. Continue reading

Law, injunctions and injustice

A function of law is to do justice, which can be hard to define but easy to recognise. I have been thinking about the conflict between the rule of law and the right to free speech and the “super” injunctions granted to such unworthy recipients as Fred Goodwin and Andrew Marr. The more I read about this and the more I listen to views about this the more I appreciate just how easy it is to become confused. I was entirely baffled to watch Andrew Marr discuss this issue with Max Hastings and Helena Kennedy on Sunday morning BBC television without anyone mentioning that Andrew Marr took out one of these injunctions to “protect” his wife from knowing that he had indulgenced in behaviour of which she would not approve and no doubt also to protect his highly lucrative earnings as a television journalist. It was weird, odd and strange behaviour from people who can roll out an opinion at the drop of a hat. Continue reading

Obama Got Osama

I cannot say that I greeted the news that Osama Bin laden was killed with elation. No death should be a cause for celebration. The death of a tyrant should bring a feeling of relief from tyranny and the death of a terrorist relief from terrorism but not elation. Continue reading