The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey, stands on the site of the medieval Newgate gaol, where public hangings were conducted until 1868. The present building was built in 1902 and re-built in the 1950s after extensive damage during the Blitz bombings of the second world war. On top of the dome of the building there is a gilt bronze statue of Lady Justice, a maiden with arms stretched out and bearing in her left hand the scales of justice and in her right the sword of authority. Above the entrance to the building is the inscription
‘Defend the Children of the Poor & Punish the Wrongdoer.’
‘MOSES GAVE UNTO THE PEOPLE THE LAWS OF GOD.
Inside, in the hall beneath the dome are six more axioms, guiding statements for the work to conducted in the building:
1. The law of the wise is a fountain of life
2. The welfare of the people is supreme
3. Right lives by law and law subsists by power
4. Poise the cause in justice’s equal scales
5. Moses gave unto the people the laws of God
6. London shall have all its ancient rights
The architecture and design of the building reflects the purposes and beliefs of those who built it.
The figure of Lady Justice with her scales and sword is common across the world, the scales reflect the weighing of the argument, of the case presented to the Court. The sword represents the power and authority to enforce the judgement. Wisdom is often portrayed in the feminine and though this statue does not have Justice blind-folded, to represent impartiality, as many portrayals do, impartial wisdom is presumed by the maidenly representation. Since the times of the Roman Emperor Augustus the virtue of fair and impartial Justice has been idealised and honoured as an aspect of divine wisdom.
DISTILLED DESCRIPTIONS OF JUSTICE
The precepts written above the entrance and in the hall expand upon the nature of Justice, they can be distilled as follows:
Good law is life-giving and is derived from divine wisdom, it has its heart and primary purpose the good of the people. The rights of the people are enacted through law and law is maintained by the exercise of power. Justice is revealed by the weighing of the dispute impartially. Justice is to be applied locally and is to defend the weak from oppression by the powerful and punish the wrong-doer. Equality under the law is the desired outcome.
All these motifs declare the purpose of this Court, that proper law is for the health, defence and welfare of the people and that the Court will apply such law justly and equitably, that power may be properly wielded. True law and justice is honest, fair and equitable application of power for the healthy regulation of society, bringing life, defending the weak and punishing the wrongdoer, giving favour to no person on account of their social station but seeking to judge on the basis of truth.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IS NO JUSTICE AT ALL!!
We hear a lot about ‘social justice’ these days, how does social justice differ from justice derived from Judaeo- Christian understanding, as exemplified in the Old Bailey? Is social justice, justice at all?
Social justice is a form of distributive justice which considers justice in an egalitarian sense, i.e. that justice only exists when outcomes for all are equal.
Its proponents therefore lobby, legislate and demonstrate not against injustices but against inequalities, which they perceive and classify through the prism of race, gender, class, sexuality and so on.
Having identified an ‘inequality,’ proponents of social justice seek to legislate to counter that inequality, in order to remove what they perceive as an injustice from society. This is done by writing laws based on giving advantage to one group over the other, it might be called a reverse apartheid.
SOCIAL JUSTICE & THE LAW AS A BLUNT INSTRUMENT OF SOCIAL ENGINEERING
An apartheid system gives legal advantage to one social group over another (discrimination), a social justice outlook requires those laws to be replaced by laws that advantage the previously disadvantaged group (known as positive discrimination) in order to rectify the effects of the previous situation.
The law is used as an instrument of social engineering. Neither of these positions are truly just as neither of the sets of laws treat all those subject to the law equitably. Both the apartheid and the reverse apartheid cement inequality and division into society by not treating all equally under the law.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IS CORRUPT TO ITS CORE & CORRUPTING IN ITS CONTACT
By failing to treat all members of society as equals under the law but as members of particular categories or groupings, social justice falls short of justice as advocated by Judaeo-Christian thought. Social justice also acts as a corrupting agency in the Law as the Courts become not a recourse for the correction of wrong-doing but an agent for the forwarding of special interest groups. A current example of this being ‘hate speech’ laws whereby certain groups, advantaged in the law, are able to prosecute and silence other groups. By this means the rights and freedoms of some are extended as the rights and freedoms of others are eroded.
So much for equality under the law, how does social justice appear through the paradigm of life-enhancing wisdom?
BIBLICAL & CHRISTIAN JUSTICE IS PEACEFUL & LIFE GIVING-EVEN WHEN TAKING LIFE
Christian thought describes wisdom as peaceable, that is making peace and enhancing peace, for this reason mercy, reconciliation and humility are all part of the warp and weft of justice. In days gone by, when capital punishment was still the law in England, the judge, having donned the black cap and pronounced the sentence, would even then still finish with ‘and may God have mercy on your soul.’ Forgiveness, mercy and reconciliation are all at the heart of Christian justice. There may be punishment and recompense due but only as part of the process of peace-making.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IS SICKENING SUBJUGATION
For the social justice lawyer this concept of peace-making is replaced by that of ‘rights.’ It is for the establishment of rights that she or he advocates. The group or category or person being represented wishes to establish, enhance or assert rights that have been deemed to be overlooked, undermined or infringed. The purpose of the lawsuit – and of the law itself – is not to bring peace and life but to exert position through the application of power. The aim and end of social justice is therefore very different.
CHOOSE-RIGHTEOUSNESS? OR RATS IN A SACK!
Given these two very divergent theories of justice, one that seeks to treat all citizens as equal under the law, with the aim of using trial and judgement as a path to peace and hoped for reconciliation. The other creating categories of citizens, establishing and asserting legal ‘rights,’ using the law as a tool of social engineering with the aim of creating an egalitarian society, it is clear that to call ‘social justice’ justice requires a re-definition of the word as well as a revolution within the legal system.
Carrying on down this legal route will cost the British people more than their reputation for honest justice, it will divide society and skew it into a number of competing interest groups fighting like rats in a sack.