Law And Justice Essay Student Room Decor

Theories of Justice


Said we have two types of justice, distributive and corrective

Distributive - All benefits and burdens should be distributed fairly. This does NOT mean equal distribution of wealth, only that everything is fair. An example of this reflected in our laws are beifit laws etc.

Corrective - If anyone tries to upset this fair distribution then their behaviour should be corrected. For example courts, prison, compensation, injunctions etc.


Jhon Rawls

Said that the only way to achieve true justice is if we create an 'original position' This is a group of people who are behind a 'veil of ignorance' which means that they are unaware of their social status, abilities, background, place in society etc.

His point being that the people who make the laws have their own agenda, so you cant achieve true Justice.



If you get wealth legally and fairly, then it should be yours to keep. However those who don't have any wealth shouldn't be helped. The problem with this theory is that some cant afford training for a good job.



He believed that the law is made to protect the middle class and their property from the working class. He thought everyone should be equal.

The Relationship between law and justice

Formal Justice

These are mechanisms in place in order to try and underpin a just society. for example:

We have Montesque's Seperation of powers, ensuring none of the 3 groups do anything unjust.

Judges are also free from financial and political pressure.

Barristers have the Cab Rank rule, to ensure everyone is represented.

However, judges are usually from middle class backgrounds, and there is a lack of women and ethnic minorities.

Trial by peers means that they have local knowledge.

However due to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 judges can now sit on Juries, so is it still trial by peers?

They have no legal training and often bow to media pressure.

Lord Dennings said "The jury is a corner stone to a civilised society."


Substansive Justice

These are mechanisms we have in place to ensure a just outcome.

We have stare decisis (like cases treated alike) which underpins the development of the law and it is key to consistency.

House of Lords have the Practice Statement 1966 which allows them to over turn an unjust decision. However to ensure consistency, they rarely use it.

FORD (follow, overrule, reverse, distinguish) ensures that each case is treated on its own fact.

We have a varying tariffs e.g 2-5yrs which allow pre-sentence reports, mitigating and aggravating factors to be taken into account.

The victim however may argue that it is TOO fair on the defendants

Life also doesn't always mean life.


Miscarriages of Justice

Despite the attempts to ensure justice, we do still sometimes get it wrong.

Steven Downing - was wrongly imprisoned for 26 years. Although he got £250,000 compensation because he is so institutionalised he cant pick up his life again.

It is a very long, drawn out process in order to get someone released, however we do have the Criminal Cases Review committee who look at cases of those who are adamant that they are innocent.


Every legal system tries to achieve justice, so there is a relationship between the two.

We have mechanisms in place for if we get it wrong.

There is a link both historically and theoretically.

My teacher said that its not enough to learn the essay. You must also add in your own opinion and try and link with current affairs in today's society.


My teacher said that its not enough to learn the essay. You must also add in your own opinion and try and link with current affairs in today's society.

These notes are aimed at people studying for A Level Law, unit 6.

Article by TSR User on Thursday 15 February 2018

Once, when I was seven, I fell asleep in Michoacán and woke in Boyle Heights. No joke. Now I am a bewildered 26-year-old undocumented college student, whose life may become a slightly less surreal dream if the DREAM Act ever passes, but only slightly less so.

Sometimes I feel like a stressed-out comic book super hero, juggling multiple identities. Public opinion vilifies my kind, because people imagine that my kind spits venom or have two heads. The so-called public fears what it can’t comprehend. It’s as if people, collectively, have their fingers in their ears while yelling “lalalalala, I-can’t-hear-you,” but once you connect with them individually, one by one, they become open-minded, curious, smart… empathetic.

I guess I should be inspired by Superman, arguably the most accomplished of all “illegal aliens.” Literally, in his case, as he came from another planet as an infant because his parents wanted to give him a better life when his home world was annihilated. He landed on earth and was raised in the Midwest by a loving couple to become a symbol for truth, justice and the American way. Last time I checked, he was still working at the Daily Planet, getting by under the name of “Clark Kent.” I hope that the e-verify system doesn’t catch up with him someday; where would ICE deport him?

I’m no Superman, but sometimes I feel that’s about where the expectations are set. I’m the oldest of four and like any other first-generation immigrant child, I am the chosen one, the one who is supposed to bring balance to the force – er, to the family I mean – by overcoming adversity, getting a college education and a well-paying job. I’m the one forever cursed to translate for my parents so they can navigate a foreign system. You can imagine how disappointed my parents were when they figured out I wanted to be a writer instead of a doctor, teacher or police officer.

I have lived in Watts, South Central, Compton, Inglewood (up to no good), Long Beach, Pico Union and Boyle Heights. My understanding and mastery of the English language and pop-culture came from my third parent, television. The Simpsons, comic books and sitcoms taught me how to act, speak and think like an American. I didn’t understand who Jimmy Hoffa was, but I knew they buried him at Giants Stadium under the 50-yard line. I attended prison-modeled high schools that were right next to the projects, have high drop out rates and are made up of low-income Latino and African-American students. The only reason I graduated from high school on time was because I was one of those students that didn’t make the teacher cry. I sat quietly in my chair as classmates got into fights, smoked weed in class and raised hell. I am a poster child for the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

I graduated high school in 2002 with suicidal tendencies because, as a band by that name sings, “all I wanted was a Pepsi.” That is, I wasn’t asking for a lot, I just wanted what everybody else seemed to have. It’s no joke – I’m not just saying I wanted to kill myself to be all “emo.”I was horribly depressed because all I had to look forward to in life was selling hot dogs, fruit and shaved ice in a cart my dad owned. Not to mention that a decade of internalized oppression and instilled fear of La Migra traumatized me. Unbeknownst to me, 2002 was the same year Assembly Bill 540 passed, which allows me to pay in-state tuition at a college because I’m a California high school graduate. I didn’t know about this law until I was handed an affidavit at East Los Angeles College in the fall of 2005. I became a journalism major, “el reportero de las ganas.” Slowly but surely, I was begging to find others like me. I read articles and saw their videos online. Tam Tram was the first undocumented student I ever saw speaking out openly – undocumented and unafraid. She gave me the courage to stop feeling bad for myself, to make the best of the situation and carry on. I wasn’t alone anymore.

I began finding more and more undocumented students as I shared my struggles online through blogs. I discovered group after group that was organizing for our rights and the DREAM Act. I finally had a place to belong, and friends that understand what it’s like to grow up as an undocumented American. I share my story regularly with high school kids because I know my words will resonate with others who are undocumented and afraid. I let them know they’re not alone and that things will get better if they continue their education. Despite lack of legal status, no one can take away our education.

It may not be easy, but we won’t be alone anymore and we will never give up the fight.

Erick Huerta is a journalism student at East Los Angeles College, DREAM Act activist, and community reporter for “Brooklyn & Boyle,”, and his personal blog

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