Tag Archives: public trust

Why Do People Go To Court

I was reading this post at http://representingyourselfcanada.com/2014/12/03/checking-our-egos-and-accepting-our-part-is-fundamental-to-restoring-public-trust-in-the-justice-system/ which provides a valid viewpoint on how everyone is part of the issue in restoring trust to the justice system here in Canada. In general I do agree with the notion that it takes everyone in all sides to fix something. This particular quote got me thinking though:

“Which brings us to the public. The public has an important part to play in the A2J dilemma. There is a widespread expectation that all problems should be solvable by the justice system. And that everyone should have a right to access it.

Understandably, when the public sees this “offer”, they want to take it up. But it is an unrealistic oversell of what the legal system can actually do.”

There were then examples of how judges can’t change say a deadbeat parent as an example of over expectation. That then made me think how maybe there is a disconnect as to why many people go to court in general which would explain a lot such as all those stories I hear on how courts usually never enforce things such as if people tell false stories in court.

For myself, my decision to go to court wasn’t only to solve a technical issue per se. My train of thought on why we have a court system in the first place is that we live in a society that values and promotes a certain standard of behavior. Example, it’s wrong to steal from a bank. Imposing a ruling that condemns that bad behavior is protecting society as a whole from becoming like a “scamville” so to speak.

So if we have a case of someone robbing a bank, while technically the issue itself is about proving if a crime was committed, ultimately the reason why we do it is to protect the idea that we can live in a safe society free from this bad behavior. In theory, these court rulings and its presence should discourage people from doing these types of things. You can change this to any other example such as the more recent sexual assault and rape cases plastered in the media.

Like from my experience, my thought was if I simply allowed my situation to slide then there is a high chance it will happen to someone else. Same reason why people like me speak out about our court experiences too. Hence, in many ways it’s like a social responsibility where the public invented the court system to essentially condemn serious bad behavior to protect the public as a whole. Impose fines, send people to jail, etc. It’s not about wanting a judge to decide which chocolate bar tastes better in a subjective way for example where it’s based on personal preference. Unless my idea of what a justice system is supposed to stand for is completely wrong.

But if you are telling me that it indeed isn’t to get justice for example but rather to simply solve disputes on a surface level, then what is the point of a court system or law in general? It would almost make more sense to simply have mediators and independent news reporters to broadcast cases in a live talk show format to the open public about issues to decide upon.

Even I agree that nothing can be perfect for everyone and you will always have bad apples on every side of the fence. If there is a clear confusion as to what a court should be all about where the public thinks it’s “the” way to get justice and people in the system think it’s simply an alternative method to resolve disputes then that is a huge issue.

On the topic of trust in the justice system, until there are practical ways to get true transparency on what actually goes on in the whole court process this distrust isn’t going anywhere. For example, imagine if in this video there was no such thing as videotaping of court proceedings:

For a person like myself, sadly based on my experience I wouldn’t doubt if things like this happen more often than we would like to believe. Transcripts, audio and court papers wouldn’t be able to tell that story. In this scenario it would have mostly been that lady’s word against powerful people in the court system. There is simply no way she would have been believed or won there which results in no change. Build trust by being fully transparent and implement ways that will better ensure that everyone, including the public, can be held accountable for their actions throughout the court process.