What is the ‘Justice Lark’?
The ‘Justice Lark’ is a lawyers story of how justice systems can operate in ways that far from serving justice, do all too often harm the lives of people they’re meant to be helping.
I was a lawyer for the better part of a decade. There were some good times in that career, but also in my time, I saw too many examples of something quite opposite to ‘justice’ being served.
Why should you care?
You should care because one day, it could be you appearing before a judge. You’ll know you’re innocent. You’ll know that you are the one who needs protection before the law. You’ll articulate as best you can, what happened and why the judge should take notice of what you’re saying. You might even be lucky enough to have plenty of means to fund a lawyer too, and they may even be decent at their job!
At the end of the day though, it is my experience that it is a lucky gamble as to whether anything like ‘the truth’ will actually out.
I often used to tell my clients that there is no such thing as ‘truth’ in a courtroom. ‘Truth’ within the justice system is that of the lawyer who can spin the best narrative around the particular prejudices of the presiding judge.
If you come from means, the ability to fund a decent lawyer means that you’re in with a decent shot at spinning the better narrative.
If you have white skin and are male, your privilege within these processes extends higher again, with judicial prejudices more likely to come down on your side.
For the rest, it’s my experience that there is little resembling ‘truth’ that actually comes out of a courtroom.
What I find particularly fascinating, now with the full benefit of a few years of hindsight (having left the legal profession in late 2016) is just how oblivious legal professionals and judges are to what I’m talking about here.
Certainly, rhetoric around building ones ‘theory of the case’ (the narrative) was common place: good lawyers understand the importance of their role in this respect. Judges too, take pride in their so-called ‘impartially’ and ‘objectivity’ in then determining who offers the better or more ‘plausible’ narrative.
What few judges or lawyers then also do however, is to analyse the way in which these roles and objectives, actually impact on the provision of those very things they are seeking: so-called ‘truth’ and ‘justice’.
If judges and lawyers were to take the time to question, on any sociological level, what the impact of their roles are and how these roles are in reality carried out, we might have a better shot at ‘truth’ and ‘justice’.
My experience though, is that there is an ignorance around how judicial processes and prejudices may in fact be impeding truth telling and so-called ‘justice’.
That’s what this blog is about. It follows a few years of my exploring the sociological underpinnings of justice processes, since I quit law at the end of 2016.
It’s about my pursuit of reform in the face of legal and judicial systems that for the most part, are wholly resistant to any calls for accountability; indeed hostility towards those questioning whether judges and lawyers do in fact have the ability to provide expertise in the areas claimed, is a given.
I’d like to believe in institutions. As a former lawyer, and one with more than a little postgraduate education, I’d like to believe that there are answers that involve co-operative systems, which benefit communities and the lives of individuals who need help in solving their problems.
After almost a decade of experience working within legal systems as a lawyer though, it’s my view that these institutions, which are purportedly intended to help people, all too often do the opposite.
Let me know your thoughts below. Have you had involvement in justice processes? What was the outcome? What were your thoughts about the lawyers and judges involved?