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Equalising the requirement for truth in civil and criminal court cases

Comment 2nd July 2010

Currently it is only required by those that stand in the dock to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

If our justice system is to serve our society appropriately there cannot be one rule for the plaintiff and defendant and another rule for those that represent the legal system.

What message does the current situation convey? It’s okay to manipulate the truth if you’re in a position to manipulate the truth; changing it from fact, to something lesser.

We should be able to look towards our legal system as the guardian of what is right and correct – a mentor and leader of the morals decent society should follow. But we cannot. There is no legislative requirement for the law’s representatives to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, if not standing in the dock. There is an element of fog that currently is employed in every proceeding.

Yes, changing this will make things more difficult for those legal representatives, but when people such as these are generally paid more than our doctors and nurses, just for interpreting English to the judges and the rest of the court, it makes you wonder where the government’s priorities really lie by allowing this to continue as is.

Yes there will be a backlash by the legal profession, but their primary interest isn’t truth and justice it’s their pay packets.

I would like to see a time when it is not announced in the papers that one or another court proceeding has been halted due to cost, because this is not justice, this is purely business and in these circumstances it does not serve civil society at all.

You may think that this suggestion has been written on the basis of a bad outcome for myself, but this is not the case. In fact, I won my case. But what really riled me was when my solicitor, when questioned by the judge, denied giving me the advice they had done over the phone, advice that I repeated in court. To me it just demonstrated how corrupt the process actually was; legal representatives misrepresenting the truth to support their standing.

If we really want a civil society it must be seen that everyone has to abide by the same rules, and what I am arguing for is legislation that forces all, that are conveying information to the court, to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Without any change civil liberties will remain an anathema.

If this proposal is enshrined in law I suspect the cost of law will be severely curtailed and open up the possibility that everyone in our society will have the opportunity to access the legal system when wronged – something that was the case around 400 years ago. And, if so, possibly more work for the legal profession as court cases will not take the exponential times they currently take.

Faster and quicker justice, reduced costs and equality for all, not just the few.

Why does this matter?

This proposal is important because it will enshrine equality in civil and criminal proceedings in court. It will allow society in general to look at our legal system and see that the legal system has our best interests at heart. It will tell the general public that when the law is used they can expect the same rules to apply to the law’s representatives in exactly the same way it does to those appearing before the court. It forestalls the idea that the law only serves the practitioners of the law, ultimately.

It enshrines honesty as the heart of our civil society and makes us freer. It makes the law effective across all levels. It will generate respect for the law once again and those that believe the legal system can be used to their advantage will, undoubtedly, start having second thoughts and possibly not consider what they had planned to do.

If you want to reduce the prison population the law has to be a deterrent and not a national lottery defined by the quick witted and literate majority of those that represent the law, as it is.

It’s time to make the law respectable once again.


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