A just law has a number of widely recognized characteristics. A just law is characterized by the following:
--treats all people equally
The notion of equality is an important aspect of the law. Although a just law may be providing equality it doesn’t always occur that way. For example, a wealthy person may be able to afford legal representation, but those people who can’t afford legal representation will be disadvantaged and will not have an equal opportunity before the law.
--is based on generally held religious or ethical precepts
The common law legal system is the product of various historical influences, many of which were the religious and moral viewpoints of different times. In today’s society, ethics and how they coincide with the law are being replaced by the need for the law to protect society as a whole and consider economic interests.
Utilitarianism is the theory which suggests the law aims to ensure the greatest possible happiness for the greatest possible number of people.
--stresses consensus and social cohesion above all
Democracy helps create legal consensus. Democratic processes provide all citizens within the state with the opportunity to develop or create the law. Democratic processes will generally require a majority or consensus to bring a law into being. Democratic processes are designed to endure the survival and well being of the community through stressing consensus.
--allows for general principles to be mitigated in individual cases Mitigation allows for fairness. The law attempts to treat everyone equally; that everyone in similar situations is taxed the same, everyone who commits the same crime is given the same penalty. However the courts have discretion to reduce the penalty according to the circumstances.
-- aims to redress inequalities
--It leaves people free
To the extent that people do not break the law, a just law will leave people free....