Our Faltering, But Still Great Legal System

It needs criticism and ongoing improvement (and I outline some improvemets in Chapter Fifteen of The Trouble With Canada …Still!, on the Law and the Constitution). But compared to the legal systems of other cultures? – No contest. Down wiht the myth that other cultures offer legal systems as good!

To Mother England, once again, we owe most of the freedoms from Statism, and the common-law rights that we too often take for granted (tho to be truthful, they have been undermined recently even there).

Superior is the British-based right to private property we have known since the twelfth century. Superior are the individual freedoms and rights to protection from Statism that were enshrined in Magna Carta in 1215, and improved and defended ever since (well, until 1982 in Canada).

Superior is the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty before a jury of peers or an independent judge!

Superior are the rights of citizens to legal appeal to higher courts!

Superior is the right of the poor to free counsel!

Other than Rome at the height of her glory (from whence also we have drawn much in the way of legal practice) no other system has ever provided its people with such a cultural fabric of superior legal rights and freedoms.

Indeed one of the supporting ribs of The Trouble With Canada … Still! is the nation-defining contrast between the British-based common-law system, and the French-based code-law system, arguing for the superiority of the former. The practical reality that all who have thrown in their lot with the English bottom-up common-law system are free to do anything that is not prohibited by the law, is an extraordinary inheritance of the English people. We are presumed free by birth and by inherited right. This stands in stark opposition to the dictates found in so many top-down nations of history, where citizens are permitted only to do what is specified and allowed – or altered by judges – in a written code.

There is a huge difference in principle and in reality between a regime where you are deemed free by nature to do anything that is not prohibited, and one in which you can only do what is permitted!

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