The BBC released a documentary (May 2011) which provides an excellent insight into the Basic concepts involved in the British legal system - How justice works.

 

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Part I:

"What is required to be one of the top judges in the country?" "A good intellect - a mixture of analysis and common sense. A feel of what is the right decision."  "Not the kind of temperament that rushes to judgement and sticks to it come what may. Each case must be approached with complete independence of thought." "One man's justice is another man's injustice."

Cases:

  • Parliamentary Privilege - MPs expenses
  • Human Rights Act - i. Soldiers serving abroad. ii. Gay asylum seekers.

Part II: Backgrounds of four of the judges. The 'Process'

Part III Variation in Judgemental Views | The Making of a Judgement | Impartiality at the Heart of Justice

Judge must administer justice according to the law | "No judge is omnipotent and infallable" | "There is quite a lot of room for individual interpretation."

Case: Prenuptial agreement.

 

Part IV:

"The law does not allow you to be irrational" | Need for an objective dispassionate view. | Imposed distance 'commuting'.

Case: Suspected Foreign Terrorists - Security v Liberty | Human Rights 

For those facing or potentially facing court cases, it can be difficult to understand that the appliciation of the law is subject to judgement and that different judges may be at variance on the weight of various aspects of legal arguement.

Those of us in clinical practice can understand that clinicians may not agree on the optimum management of a patient and the individual clinician may change his/her views over time.

There is clearly benefit in having some understanding of how the law works but ultimately those without legal training can only be guided by lawyers with expertise and experience in the area of law that is applicable to their case.