The Law as a Tool for the State

11 Mar

Not exactly the original intent…

An unspoken war on the Common Law

…judge Sir John Fortescue wrote that English law is ‘not only good but the best’ (1), contrasting the public jury trial of the English court with the torture-ridden, summary and secret proceedings on the Continent. In the 1700s, jurist William Blackstone argued that while Continental law fomented ‘arbitrary and despotic power’, the Common Law preserved the liberty of ‘even the meanest subject’

At base, such arbitrary power changes the very role of the law. The primary role of law becomes not the protection of citizens against the power of the state, but a tool for the state to use against citizens.Law becomes, say Roberts and Stratton, a weapon for the police rather than a shield for the innocent.

As in England, so too in Canada and the US…

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