Here is an article I wrote for JewishSNews.co.uk about Justice in the Judicial System.
What is Justice in the Judicial System?
Justice is an integral part of the judicial system. It is defined as the fair and equitable treatment of individuals in court proceedings and other legal matters. In contrast, facts are the evidence-based decisions made by a court or jury to determine guilt or innocence. While justice is based on principles of fairness and equity, facts are based on the evidence presented before a court or jury to make a decision. Therefore, justice and facts differ in that justice takes into account all aspects of a case while facts are limited to what can be proven in court. There’s also the human factor here, where you can’t entirely tell what a judge or jury/judge together will decide, even taking into account all the facts of the case.
The Role of Judges in Making Decisions
Judges are often seen to be making decisions that seem to either directly or broadly/indirectly contradict the facts.
One way of looking at this is to say that it’s due to their judicial discretion, which allows them to take into account a variety of factors such as legal precedent, and case law, when making decisions.
However, we’ve all seen evidence of cases where it seems like public sentiment or sympathy has influenced the judge and their decision, and the final verdict is reached bearing little or no relation to the facts presented.
So this can only mean that, while judges must adhere to the facts of the case, they also have a certain degree of freedom to make decisions based on their own judgement and experience.
However, this can lead to controversial outcomes if the judge’s decision does not reflect the facts of the case.
Surely it is therefore important for judges to be aware of their judicial discretion when making decisions, in order to ensure that justice is served and that all relevant information is taken into account.
Exploring Historical Perspectives on Justice and Its Impact on Decision Making
The concept of justice has been debated and discussed for centuries, with different perspectives emerging from various cultures and societies.
In recent years, the debate between justice and facts has become more prominent, with many questioning the role of moral judgement in decision-making.
Throughout history, the broader perception of justice has had a definite and defined impact on decision-making, with changes such as evidence-based decisions that are balanced with moral judgement to ensure that decisions are fair and just, as opposed to the authoritarian ‘chief-of-the-village’ type justice systems that prevailed centuries ago.
The two prevailing perspectives on justice are utilitarianism and deontology. Utilitarianism suggests that decisions should be made based on a calculation of the consequences and outcomes, while deontology argues that decisions should be primarily guided by moral judgement.
Both these perspectives base their arguments upon the idea of fairness; however, they differ in their specific definitions of what makes something fair or just.
A utilitarian perspective on justice is one where individual desires are weighed against each other for potential social benefits to determine whether an action is justified. It can be argued that this perspective produces a “fair” decision as long as the individual is not forced to make a choice.
A deontological perspective on justice is one where actions are ethically justified only when they are done with the intention of adhering to universal moral law. These actions should be done regardless of personal desires or consequences and should always be motivated by a sense of duty.
Judges Making Decisions That Contradict The Facts
The power of judicial discretion is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows judges to make decisions that are in line with the spirit of the law even if they contradict the facts. On the other hand, it can lead to outcomes that are not in line with justice.
It is important to understand both the pros and cons of judicial discretion when deciding whether or not judges should be allowed to make decisions that contradict the facts.
The pros include flexibility in applying laws, allowing for legal precedent, and providing a more equitable outcome.
However, there are also potential cons such as bias and inconsistency which could lead to unfair outcomes.
Justice is one of the most important institutions in society. However, the question of how to deal with areas where there is a lack of agreement on what the law is can be difficult and controversial.
A system that allows judges to decide what should be done in these situations can have the above inconsistencies and unfairnesses.
To try and get around this, there are supposed limits on what Judicial Discretion is capable of. Judicial discretion is defined as the authority or power to decide within specified limits what constitutes lawful conduct according to law.
In other words, judicial discretion is the ability of judges to make decisions regarding how they should apply particular laws or rules, however, these human factors can produce ‘outliers’ in decisions so should judges be forced to adhere more strictly to case law and precedent?
Written by Stephen Taylor, Propaganda CEO
Exclusively written for JewishSNews by Stephen Taylor