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tinyfaery's avatar

If it is necessary to have an attorney represent you in a court case, is the legal system fair and just?

Asked by tinyfaery (40372points) May 1st, 2009

I work for attorneys. Some of our defendants do not retain lawyers and instead choose to represent themselves. Good for the opposing attorney, but pretty much universally bad the person in pro per. They never know what they are doing and they end up screwing themselves.

So, if the legal system is so convoluted, and only someone who went to 3 years of law school can figure out how to navigate through the system, is the legal system fair?

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9 Answers

DrBill's avatar

Depends on the judge.

justwannaknow's avatar

It is said that a defendant that represents himself has a fool for a client. It is so true! The system is just but not fair if you do not know the rules to the legal game.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think the legal system is supposed to be fair but in fact has become so complex with myriad loopholes and intricacies known only to those who study it day in and day out, that is sure gets misused sometimes. I certainly see so many signs of it being abused here in Australia and especially the NT.

I agree with DrBill that the judge can make a difference but not be in complete control. Often sentencing is up to the judge and they make some strange decisions there.

nikipedia's avatar

I don’t think being complicated makes the legal system unfair. Justice is a complicated idea. I wouldn’t want to live in a society where the rules were totally set and straightforward, because I think that would lead to overgeneralizing.

Take murder, for instance. It would be simpler if we just said, “murder is murder; it’s the death penalty for anyone who kills someone else.” But killing someone because you were texting while driving is totally different from killing someone in cold blood, hence we have different rules. Every time you add a layer of complexity to the crime, you have to add a layer of complexity to the law.

tinyfaery's avatar

Important talking more about deadlines, filing motions, discovery, things a lawyer would do, not the legislature or judges.

Plus, if you are in criminal court you can have a public defender, but not for civil court. How is that fair?

YARNLADY's avatar

Let me use an example from my experience: If you are at a baseball game, do you expect a fair and just game when one of the players is chosen at random from the audience? I had parents in Little League withdraw their children because we expected them to show up for practice on a regular basis, and develop a knowledge of the rules.

Isn’t it even more important in a court of law that an experienced person who understands the rules will be representing the clients, rather than the free for all that would result if every player was a novice? Where is the justice in that?

I am predicating this opinion on the fact that there are free (taxpaid or pro bono)lawyers available.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

The legal system is a necessary evil. Lawyers (as despised as they are) are also a necessary evil. Laws in a society must necessarily be complex and very detailed so that all the bases are covered.

Darwin's avatar

The system we have sure beats the systems a lot of other countries have had. I rather like the notion of being innocent until proven guilty, so at least you have a chance of getting off, and I very much like not being pulled out of my house and simply “disappeared.”

Our legal system is a work in progress, and it is a human endeavor. Both of these factors mean it isn’t perfect and often isn’t fair, but it is still a pretty good system.

Jack79's avatar

When I was recently interrogated, and explained the legal complications to the interrogator, he went “wow! It took me 4 years to figure out how that law works!” (the only reason I knew about it was because it affected me, so I had to look it all up). Which pretty much sums up the legal system anywhere.

Law started being complicated to predict any possible case of injustice and how to deal with it. It ended up staying complicated because that way lawyers make a lot of money. In a perfect society, two people would be brought in front of a fair King, without anybody else present. And the King would sort it out. But that of course assumes Kings are infallible and receive their blessing from a just and infallible God. Which is why we’re stuck with an imperfect system and evil lawyers who abuse it. and don’t even get me started on the judges!

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