Sunday, February 13, 2011

Law is not Justice

"The middle class has been shut out of a justice system that caters primarily to the very rich and the very poor, the country's top judge recently told a group of legal luminaries ... Do we have adequate access to justice?" asked Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin (Toronto Star, Feb 11, 2011).

The public wonders why legal practitioners aggrandize their trade by equating it to justice. Law is a process. Justice may or may not be the product of that process. Laws change every day. Justice never. One does not access justice upon issuing a writ. Rather, it is entrance into a complex legal process the outcome of which is doubtful. We do not have courts of justice. They are courts of law.

The confusion may be due to the word "judicial." It sounds like justice, but it the means legal.

In society, justice is rendered through a strong education system, a good health care system, an adequate social welfare system, and somewhere down the line through an equitable law system.

Further confusion is caused by titles bestowed. Why are they termed "Mister or Madame Justice So and So"? Are people who rise in other professions styled Professor Educated Jones? Dr. Healthy Harley? Madame Chief Social Welfare Smith? Worse still are the politicians with the title Minister of Justice when their job is to enforce law as written, not seek justice.

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