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St. Mary's Law Journal

Authors

C. Kaufman

Publisher

St. Mary's University School of Law

Abstract

The purpose of the law is to do justice. This has led to society believing that justice is a legitimate function of the law. Because of this, the decisions of courts and legislators reflect core principles of justice that underlay the law. By utilizing the scientific method’s process of looking at data and drawing a hypothesis to explain that data, these core principles of justice can be hammered out by examining the just explanations for different lines of cases or statutes and can be seen consistently running throughout recorded decisions. Because of the law’s purpose of justice, it should always be accounted for within the process of judging. As such, judicial discretion is important because it empowers judges to achieve just results. Further, judicial discretion fulfills the community’s expectation that judges make decisions in the manner they should, which ultimately entails achieving justice. Drawn almost exclusively from contract case law, there are fourteen principles of justice that judges should consider when resolving disputes, all of which can be classified in one of two categories: procedural justice and substantive justice. The ideal situation for the application of the principles of justice is when judicial belief in precedent is strong, as precedent binds weaker judges more so than great judges. This is important because the law must evolve and adapt to survive, and great judges are better suited to make the necessary adaptations. As more great judges are made and the principles of justice relied upon, the current system will work better and provide more just outcomes.

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