Law and justice

Why do we need law and justice?

Do we need laws?

  • Laws tell people how they should and should not behave.
  • Laws set out certain punishments to be enforced if the law is broken.

What do we mean by justice?

  • Ensuring that people are treated fairly.
  • allocating a punishment that is appropriate to the crime.

What is the connection between law and justice?

  • laws must be based on justice or they will never work.
  • When people feel a law is unjust they will take every opportunity to break it.
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What is the point of punishment?

Laws only work if crime is seen to be punished. 

Theories of punishment:

Protection: Punishing a wrondoer by locking them in prison, or taking their life, in order to protect society from the criminal.

Detterent: (Look at keyword flashcards) 

Retribution: (Look at keyword flashcards)

Reform: (Look at keyword flashcards) Acheived through a programme of education and training in prison.

Reparation: A criminal is made to pay for their crimes by doing something to help society or the victim. Then they are rehabilitated

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Christian views on justice

The bible teaches christians that god is just and expects his people to treat each other in the same way. Treating people unjustly is sin, and those who do it can expect to pay the price on the day of judgement. 

Jesus teaches:

  • Retribution was not the best way, but that they should use love to overcome injustice. Forgiving a person who has hurt you, he said, was better than exacting punishment. 

Quote: 'Do not judge others, so that god will not judge you, for god will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and he wil apply to you the same rules you apply to others.'

Fighting injustice:

Jesus taught people to share their wealth with those who had nothing, to create a fairer and just society. So this leads to christians giving to charities. 

Some christians purchase fairtrade goods. This means the growers and supplies are guaranteed a fair price for their goods. 

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Muslim views of justice

Allah is just: 

  • they believe Allah is just. He created everybody equal and treats his creation with justice and fairness. Allah expects everyone to treat each other in the same way.
  • Those who do not treat other people with justice will be judged accordingly when they go before Allah on the day of judgement.
  • Quote: ' Believers, conduct yourselves with justice and bear true witness before God.'

Many aspects of Islamic life centres around the idea of a just society. 

  • Shari'ah law- Muslims believe that Allah wants them to follow the Qur'an. The shari'ah law is based on he idea of justice for everyone and it puts the teachings of the qur'an into laws. All muslims are entitled to equal treatment under shari'ah law. Islam courts use shari'ah law to decide on just punishments if the laws of Allah are broken. 
  • Zakah: requires muslims to share out 2.5% of their surplus income to poorer people. This is simple justice as it works towards a more equal society.
  • It is unjust to share interest: The Qur'an teaches that it is unjust for someone to loan money to another person and charge them interest because tht only makes the rich person richer and the poor person poorer. 
  • Working for a just society: Muslim charities such as Muslim Aid. Works to relieve poverty.
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