The 16th-century European Reformation of religion points to the need for a 21st-century global Reformation of the law and legal processes.
Law is necessary but it needs reform. Secularism has allowed law to run out of control and Reformation is long overdue. Secularism is 500 years out of date, far behind the curve of Christian Reformation and progress, and is repeating the mistakes of the past.
Nuremberg and Natural Justice
Following legal landmark decisions at Nuremberg, individual rights and personal responsibility have risen up the agenda. Pushing against this has been the role of corporate responsibility. With the rise of the internet, global corporations have attracted even more power to themselves, often using the legal process to inhibit opposition to their agendas, and using corporate social responsibilty to hide individual responsibility.
Natural justice is such an open and public concept that it should not require expert legal opinion. This is why most of us can form an opinion about so many cases of abuse all around the world – personal abuse, corporate abuse, police abuse, prosecution and parliamentary abuse. What the public can see to be so naturally wrong is nevertheless justified by teams of lawyers using their God-given talents to find a law that allows the wrong to persist to the advantage of the corporation or entity who employ them. Natural justice plays second fiddle to such expert legal opinion.
There are so many examples that it keeps media and YouTube ticking over on a daily basis. Public exposure is important for holding them to account and it is time to reform the law and legal processes so that the ordinary man can live his life in peace.
Who and when will someone call time? The Secret Barrister points to one aspect where the system is broken, primarily because of lack of resources, but the problem is much deeper than this. The Justice Factory: Can the Rule of Law Survive in Twenty-First Century Scotland? by Ian Mitchell goes further and shows the dangerous route that law in Scotland is heading. But what is the solution? It is not more law nor money but legal reformation. At the very least we need equal access to the law, free at the point of entry – a National Justice Service to match the National Health Service. It would help to have the basic principles of natural justice taught in our secondary schools, to teach them its legal basis. After all, young children soon learn “that’s not fair” from a very young age and many public marches and civil unrest arise from perceived wrongs that do not need expert legal opinion to see the injustice. So what is the legal profession doing to help reformation? If it will not put its own house in order, will it let the Christians do so?
The danger of too much law is that prosecution becomes partial, another injustice easily seen by the public without expert legal training.
International law reform
Just as tax havens make use of international loopholes in the law, big corporations choose the jurisdiction to win its case and Governments use extradition to intimidate private citizens with their authority. Are tax havens for money more important than safe havens for persecuted individuals?
The legal teams behind large corporations bring ‘slap law suits’ (view at 20’55) to stop opposition to their agenda. It weaponises the law against weaker individuals – not weaker in thought nor in justice, but simply having less money. The public’s knowledge of natural justice means little so such legal teams. The same occurs with planning permission in Scotland, which the Scottish Christian Party addresses in its Manifesto. Yet this is only one end of the spectrum, which extends from international law at one end to private civil law suits at the other end, where one needs a lawyer to deal with overly-tall trees between neighbours or whatever. Christian neighbourliness has long since gone from our secular society. It is not law that will solve the problem but Christianity may help law to reform itself. How so? Because Christianity gives a higher motivation to fight against oppression, even against impossible odds, and has the history to demonstrate it. Many people see the problem but they will not fix it nor even call it out because their employment, their reputation and their identity in secular terms will come under threat. Politicians, who make the law that the legal profession interprets and applies, should consider that the alternative may be the civil unrest that history teaches us.
Christianity reminds people that they must give account ultimately to God at the Day of Judgment. The secular equivalent is to threaten tin-pot dictators that one day they will end up at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and possibly even individuals in large corporations (at 22’35), but this cannot apply to everyone and is necessarily selective. Meanwhile, these dictators and individuals in large corporations will live the highlife until justice catches up on them. Nazis in post-war Germany did so, and some of them died before justice caught up on them and others were imprisoned for a few years in their old age before their death. This is no deterrent to such people and the oldest book in the Bible, the Book of Job, drew attention to this long ago – but the Bible is not taught nor read in our schools any more.
In short, Christianity preaches not only Law but, even better, the Gospel. There is a better way to run a country. We need law but the law needs to be reformed.
Scotland was once renowned for the philosophy of Common Sense and it is time to apply Common Sense to reform national and international law. Where are our Christian lawyers? Will they apply their legal and Christian knowledge to reform our broken legal system? Will Christians vote for Christian politicians to improve the laws?
2 Mar 2021: already a significant update – Murdo Fraser, Conservative MSP with legal qualification, raises one of many questions.