Legal vs, Justice

Topics: Law, Common law, Lawyer Pages: 3 (1025 words) Published: February 11, 2007
Compare-Contrast Just and Legal

The two words just and legal have been used interchangeably in today's society and we have forgotten the extreme amount of separation between the two words' meanings. I am going to reflect on the different meanings of what is just verses what is legal and why it is dangerous to define them as one and the same. Many similarities can be made between the two words' meanings stemming from the fact that both pertain to the justice system and to the upholding of morality. The two separate in their definitions because legal does not show evenness on an issue and the legality of something takes no account of its fairness and equality. Whereas, if something is just, it is not because it is legal but because it is fair and two sided. These two sides of the comparison show how similar just and legal have become, yet they also maintain much of their own identities. In the next few pages, I will juxtapose these two words and try to show how their differences must not be overtaken by their similarities.

The roots of the words just and legal both have a Classical Latin origin but do not seem to cross in their definitions. Legal stems from the Latin root legalis which means legal, or pertaining to the law. The word just is derived from the Latin root word justus meaning upright or equitable. The Old French term just stems from the Latin root which is most likely the root for the English form. The words just and legal must have their similarities originating from the word Justus, or justice, and the legal system's view on justice. This just or upright view on the world is the driving factor for the legal system that is pertinent in every major society past and present. This intersection in the etymology of the two words causes much confusion in the similarities that they hold and the differences seem to be overlooked.

There are many similarities existing between the modern day meanings of just and legal. These similarities stem...
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