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Law from a legal assistant’s point of view, Week 28: With liberty and justice for all

By Quinton Lister, legal assistant 

Why is navigating the legal system complicated? There are many reasons. Several things complicate the nature of our legal system. One thing is money.  

Lawyers make a living representing people in legal matters. Money itself is not the cause of the complications in the legal system, but the desire for more money and lots of it complicates many things, and the legal system is no exception. 

Another thing that complicates the legal system is that sometimes people forget that the law is not based on their subjective values and opinions. “Legislating” from the bench complicates things because it undermines faith that someone will be subject to objective standards as opposed to the personal bias of a judge or collective bias of a jury.  

Another problem with the legal system is the public’s growing ignorance of and apathy toward it. I am more convinced each day that one of the most neglected but necessary elements of education is civic education. Ignorance of the law is coming to be seen as a legitimate defense. It is my opinion that one of the greatest gains for a more equitable and just society would be a legally educated populus. One way to help the public better understand and respect the law and legal system is by maintaining laws that are consistent and concise, and avoiding the temptation to believe mere legislation solves anything. Tacitus put it perfectly when he stated, “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” 

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