Judicial pronouncements have a very strong impact on the lives of citizens of free countries, such as the UK, since those judgments create precedents or case law and therefore create the future legal course of action. Ronald Dworkin states that the true propositions should relate to the principles of fairness and justice because of the process providing excellent constructive legal practice interpretations of the community.
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Dworkin’s Law of Integrity underlines the fact that law’s optimism is considered to be conceptual. He states that law claims are always constructive; law as integrity demands the testament of the judge as to the decisions of the society. His theories have been instrumental in the authoring of an original and highly influential legal rubric that grounds facets of law into morality and possesses the uncanny ability to bind philosophical ideas and tenets with concrete moral and ethical value systems. Dworkin’s theory seeks to consider the issues relating to legal jurisprudence and the impacts such decisions have upon society as a whole and the parties in particular.
We are presented with the case in which law and emotional injuries interact. We can observe the consequences of the accident, which appeared to be fatal for its victims; the involvement in the case where the emotional injuries are awarded is regarded from the theory of Dworkin. Each case is considered to be unique and needs to be treated differentially, and it would not be in the fitness of things to provide prescriptions to court judgments.
Over the years, laws changed, established customs and legal precedents have become obsolete, and newer and more appropriate laws have superseded earlier decisions. Even in similar cases, judges have passed verdicts that do not complement each other. This is because they have taken recourse to the merits of each case, and the deliberations of the prosecution and the defense, rather than taken recourse to legal precedents and the prevailing legal provisions since clauses are also subject to caveats and riders.
While the decision of the judges needs to be based on perceptions and interpretations, it cannot afford to be positivist-oriented: there may not be mitigating circumstances, and yet legal authors of justice are constrained to provide a verdict in proportion to the extent of crime. The case under analysis argues that emotional injuries had occurred about two hours later while in usual situations they are to be observed at the time and place of the accident.
Lords Wilberforce and Edmund-Davies of HOL believed that foreseeability of psychiatric injury was not the only criteria. There must be other considerations, based on matters such that who could bring the action, the need for psychic injury to emanate from the scene of the accident, and what could have precipitated mental state warranting compensation; it must come from the plaintiff’s senses, spurred by a chain of events and not from information gained through third parties. However, Lords Bridge and Scarman just followed the foreseeability tests. (Jones, Liability for Psychiatric Illness)
The law as integrity does not try to evoke the ideals of lawmakers, or politicians, who enact them. It is meant to dispense justice, as viewed pragmatically and contextually in given case situations where the judges are duty-bound to render justice to the aggrieved and retribution to the guilty. While it is an accepted axiom of law that the innocent should not be punished, it is equally important that the guilty need be brought before the process of law, otherwise, the very institution of law stands to be undermined. The Law of Integrity seeks to enforce clarity and due procedure of law in court cases.
Dworkin has rejected the doctrines of Positivism since he considers that law needs to be much more than just a set of formal guidelines – it needs to tackle moral and philosophical issues emanating from jurisprudence relating to the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of individuals under attendant guidelines and moral undertones. Over the years, judicial proceedings have undergone rapid changes based on progressive arguments, witnesses, evidence, and exhibits produced by parties.
Thus, it may be reasoned that judges need to interpret the Constitution in the light of essential political and ethical ideologies as based on sound logic, through their imaging upon our legal systems and governance. The case of Mrs. McLoughlin raised major problems and hesitations in the law system; thus, this case approval can encourage much more lawsuits for the emergence of emotional injuries. The liability recognition according to the Court of Appeal would lead to adverse consequences in the community.
The different views on the state law and legal contradictions as to the new trial raised the question of the position of the moral principle in passing the verdict. Here we can observe the principles of the law of integrity introduced by Ronald Dworkin. The avoiding of the Positivist position is considered to be an important element in Dworkin’s considerations. The fairness and justice in the trial verdict of Mrs. McLoughlin would mean that legal practice is in a better position than it is accepted by society. To award compensation for emotional injuries would mean to contradict the law principles and follow personal experience and provide constructive interpretation of the case in terms of moral principles.
Judiciary systems are duty-bound to inculcate values of honesty, justice, and fair play and this must be evident in their pronouncements, irrespective of any extraneous circumstances, or impeding factors. Just as the crimes and criminal behaviors have undergone several changes, laws must be updated and graded to meet the challenges of the 21st century and the future. Dworkin advocates that judges need to use their intellect and discriminative abilities to seek the legitimacy of regulation in legal proceedings and persevere to arrive at the truth, however, well it may be camouflaged, or hidden.
The commitment of the jurisprudence in resolving deadlocks has to be viewed in the larger context of delivering speedy justice, with overall benefits to societal norms and dictates. According to Ronald Dworkin, there are no set legal templates to be used for cases. What is of paramount importance is that courts provide satisfactory solutions to legal problems and protect one party or group of individuals against the incursions of the other.
Law, according to the theory of Dworkin, is considered to be the catalog of rules having dominion over particular discrete behavior theatre. It is an integral part of our life; law’s empire can be defined by social attitude rather than the power of territory. The system of law should compulsorily stick to the moral and ethical experience in the trial process as Dworkin states. He considers that his theory is the background of major legal knowledge because it covers the main rules and principles of the legal jurisprudence of the society. Laws are to be applied keeping the best interests of the parties in particular and society in general.
These facts stated by Dworkin have been proved in the real legal processes such as the one under analysis. The theory principles were involved in the true legal trial and proved the importance of Dworkin’s ideas in the system of law.
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Dworkin’s Theory of Interpretivism is a major tenet of legal jurisprudence – the laws need to be interpreted and enforced, and not challenged or rejected on evidence-based judgments. Yet most courts need to provide evidence-based judgments. Law as integrity demands complete testing of the judge’s interpretations of political structures network and community decisions. Law as integrity presents the better justification of the legal practice and better fit with.
The theory is related to the main virtues of the law system such as fairness and justice. Dworkin states that the community should live according to the principles of integrity accepting it as one of the major virtues. The case provided a vivid example of how a skilled judge could refer to the law of integrity. It is important to state that according to the position of the theory the law of integrity could be used in such basic types of serious cases as the one under statutes, at common law, and under the Constitution.
The main concern of the case was the identification of the branching points concerning the legal argument providing the opinion division regarding the principles of the law of integrity. The theory of Dworkin highlights the fact that the system of law cannot be limited and exhausted only by strict rules and principles. The law of integrity in Dworkin’s interpretation is considered to be the way to “legal reconstruction” and the domination of the main virtue in the legal processes.
In conclusion, it should be stated that we have managed to examine the theory of Dworkin which seeks to concentrate on the issues relating to legal jurisprudence and the impacts such decisions have upon society as a whole and the parties in particular. The analysis of the case, in particular, has shown that some definitely complicated trials which involve additional experience and skills could influence the judicial system of the whole society.
The theory of Dworkin proved that the decisions made in the Court are to be based not only on the professional knowledge of the law but on personal skills and experience in order not to make a grave mistake in the process of the case analysis. Dworkin managed to illustrate the Legal Positivism refusal considering the case peculiarities; the paper has shown that the court process is not just a formal guideline, because moral and ethical norms of the community should always be taken into account.
Prisen, Holberg. Presentation of Ronald Dworkin. 2007. Web.
Jones, Michael. Liability for Psychiatric Illness – More Principle, Less Subtlety. Web.
Beltmon, C. Philosophical Problems in the Law, 4th Edition. 2005. Pages 111-119.