Is law the problem or the solution?

By at 26 March, 2010, 1:47 pm

Statue of Justice

In classic terms and times Bodin said “Sovereignty is supreme power over citizens and subjects unrestrained by laws”. Only the sovereign can create and execute laws. This was a classic notion of state from Luther to Bodin to Hobbs and Austin. But in current literature and reality, sovereignty seems a failed attempt of independence hijacked by the globalization project. While studying law, we often do not bother to understand sovereignty nor question the sovereignty of law shadowed by the Black Law. We don’t question that what happens to the legal thinking and theories when sovereignty is diminished?

As the corporate project continues to dominate our lives, our dependency on the law has increased drastically. While, we seek legal protections in everything from our employment contract to the home rental – the law enjoys its monopoly over commodified forms of human beings.  It seems there is a competition going on between sophisticated forms of crime and changing laws, or maybe the former is a product of the later. Never before we got legal protection for virtual cyber interactions, and never before we had cyber crimes at its peak. While the law and crime continue their marathon, we need to set back and question our assumptions of the law- especially the legal experts and lawyers who have a larger stake in the corporate project of the law.

Commodification of values and beliefs is the first attempt of any legal intervention however, worse is our expectation of justice through litigation. While litigation might be needed for a later stage – we need to overcome the increase ratio of crime in our society which is the product of legal plunder through social means. If any criminal is able to rent out the law and hire a qualified lawyer, he buys justice eventually through the blind woman statue that symbolizes justice in the courts.

If we ask any ordinary person on the streets about the governance issues, the first issue would be lack of law enforcement. We have misinterpreted law enforcement as more laws rather than justice and fairness.  More laws, more courts, more lawyers and less and less justice because the needy isn’t able to move beyond the layers of laws and lawyers attached to the notion of justice.  By now – we have almost forgotten how would justice look like- a naked justice.

While court-based litigation might be one way of accessing justice, and eliminating an ad hoc crime, we need to create an enabling environment, promoting culture of justice and fairness. Our education system needs to revive such values, and beliefs but at the same time our families and societies have a greater responsibility to educate ourselves and our children on the values for humanity. Values of being fair in transactions and relationships to each other without the fear of being punished. Punishment is only an outcomes but prevention is a process of transforming societies to make them a better place to live.

Public institutions are increasingly becoming sites of harassment and exploitation and the remedy is often said to be the in Civil Servants Policies as a punishment for the perpetrator and most of the time the victim is never able to file a complaint because the perpetrators usually happen to be the boss or a senior officer. We need to create preventive mechanisms and awareness raising on the prevention mechanisms so that those mechanisms can be trusted. Today even our language is production and reproduction of violence and domination, victimizing the victim and perpetuating the perpetrators.

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Categories : Legal Mirror | Social Issues

meghna March 26, 2010

“We have misinterpreted law enforcement as more laws rather than justice and fairness.”

This line is so thought provoking. I think this has made me think and rethink many things.

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