1. A Commonsense Free Zone
Just imagine how different today's world would be had just a fraction of the rigor and humility available to the natural sciences been allowed into law education a few generations ago. The natural sciences have access to a teacher of reality and honesty that the law lacks, for you cannot bargain with the Universe. The day by day reality, in the natural sciences, of man proposes God disposes, is a massive force for deflating the ego of all scientific investigators.
Governments have long provided a professional monopoly in legal services via statute law. This has allowed legal professionals, cult-like, to construct their own universe where they can live within its dogma as demigods. So the courtroom is indeed the place to go today if you wish to hear the arguments and thinking of a pre-scientific age. Today's lawyers, if their fees are being paid, are indeed ready to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
Perhaps courtrooms should carry a warning over the door ? For example:
2. Serious Violations by legal systems
Do Courts and Judiciary by their actions show themselves to be important Human Rights Defenders ? Can we hear their voices in judgments that show they respect human rights ?
A definitive example of how the legal mind works, and of how it feels that the legal system must be protected from a public ignorant about what really matters in relation to human rights and public order over a very serious failure of the legal system, is provided by that best-known English judge of the 20th century, Lord Denning, .
Lord Denning, by then retired, saw the erroneous conviction and long imprisonment of,
a group of quite innocent people for terrorist acts as a reason for keeping the death
penalty in the UK. As his legal logic ran :
"Hanging ought to be retained for murder most foul. We shouldn't have all these campaigns to get the Birmingham Six released if they had been hanged, they would have been forgotten and the whole community would have been satisfied”, Lord Denning told the Spectator magazine.
Sean Whelan, editor of the Irish People, commented to Green Left, “One of the most telling points in this case was not the brutal torture of the men, or even their blatant innocence, but the attitude of the appeal judge."
"The Six were acquitted and freed in 1991 after 15 years in prison for a crime they did
not commit, they were each given £30 temporary subsistence money. ... More than
100 MPs asked Her Majesty to sack Lord Chief Justice Lane. Home Secretary
Kenneth Baker ruled out an inquiry into the Six case but announced a Royal
Commission into the justice system ... Lord Runciman, 57, a sociologist and
businessman was appointed to head the inquiry."
The Runciman Royal Commission failed to make recommendations for meaningful change.
"The Report of the Runciman Commission was intellectually dishonest. To the extent
that it has assuaged public concern about the criminal process, it has aided and
abetted a confidence trick and done us a profound disservice."
Variants of this English adversarial system of law are in use in many nations around the world. Perhaps the biggest mystery is how, even today, the operators of such a morally and intellectually corrupt system still manage to command any respect at all from the general public? And of course other legal systems can be equally abusive of human rights.
3. The Adversarial legal system versus Human Rights
The purpose of an adversarial legal system is not to provide justice. Rather a modified field of battle is all that is on offer by a State seeking an administrative closure to a dispute at low cost to the State.
You win not on the facts, evidence and reason but rather by having the means to hire a champion who is a bigger thug than the thug your opponent has found to hire to fight for him or her. And the whole event is run by a person who, over time, has proved to be one of the more successful hired thugs and has thus been promoted to run this modified field of battle.
In nations that use an adversarial legal system the public accept the evident truth of "The first casualty of war is truth" but have yet to find voice to rebel against a legal system in which the essence of the activity is verbal warfare which acts to exclude truth from the courtroom.
4. The role of government
In an age of globalisation people seek natural justice and reason in decision making and search for systems of law and government which are morally responsible and able to hold individuals in office accountable for the implementation of a country's legally binding human rights covenants.
Governments are responsible for administering a legal system and making and amending laws.The legal professionals and the judiciary are not responsible for the flawed nature of legal systems. Governments in democracies are supposed to have been elected by The People to represent and protect The People's interests. When courts turn against the interests of The People it is government who must carry responsibility for allowing the courts to corrupt the law. It is also government that is responsible for harmonizing local law codes with any international human rights undertakings they have signed.
However in some countries the legal profession has gained an effective monopoly power over the operation of parliamentary systems simply because so many politicians are legal professionals. Legal process has thus become part of political policy. When a corrupt legal system oppresses an individual the victim finds to his/her horror that in reality they live in a One Party State that has no respect for basic human rights. Legal system reform fails to advance simply because such action does not suit the agenda of the legal profession. Political parties perhaps do not seek a path to an honest legal system because it would lead to an exposure of how badly the system currently operates.
The wider community can in practice be simply ignored, for only "safe" people who support the present legal status-quo (and bipartisan party-line on governance of legal services) are pre-selected for parliamentary office. The voter in reality thus has no vote at all on the issue of legal reform and human rights.
Inconsistent application of the law by government agencies opens a path to discrimination and corruption. The central problem for individual victims seeking redress at law is that generally they are the weaker party and yet the system is designed to operate best for the very wealthy. Governments and government agencies particularly inconsistently apply laws (eg. Local Government's planning, building and environmental laws) from a position of power.
5. The right to an effective remedy
In some countries gross violations of human rights are systemic and overlooked as victims have no effective remedy. They are not compensated for their loss, for damages and their suffering. The victim's real loss, damage, and suffering is just not acknowledged at all at an official level.
Some examples of the type of things that are possible even where extensive legal systems exist can be found on our cases pages.
6. What can you tell us ?
Legal/governmental systems around the world vary widely. Some attempt to protect human rights some pretend to protect human rights. What is your experience of systems you have lived under ? We would like to build up a picture of how the various systems in use perform and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Please Email us. Information you send us will be used below here to build up a picture of abuses in each nation.
Examples of how national Legal Systems are responsible for Human Rights abuse
ONE VOICE - ONE PEOPLE is an independent, non-party-political, non-profit organisation committed to defend human rights and fundamental freedoms and to contribute to the promotion and advancement of democratic societies, institutions and processes
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(C) One Voice One People. Last updated: March 2000