Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Laws and Lawyers

Thomas More, Utopia, II (tr. G.C. Richards, rev. Edward Surtz):
They have very few laws because very few are needed for persons so educated. The chief fault they find with other peoples is that almost innumerable books of laws and commentaries are not sufficient. They themselves think it most unfair that any group of men should be bound by laws which are either too numerous to be read through or too obscure to be understood by anyone.

Moreover, they absolutely banish from their country all lawyers, who cleverly manipulate cases and cunningly argue legal points. They consider it a good thing that every man should plead his own cause and say the same to the judge as he would tell his counsel. Thus there is less ambiguity and the truth is more easily elicited when a man, uncoached in deception by a lawyer, conducts his own case and the judge skillfully weighs each statement and helps untu­tored minds to defeat the false accusations of the crafty. To secure these advantages in other countries is difficult, owing to the immense mass of extremely complicated laws.

Leges habent perquam paucas. Sufficiunt enim sic institutis paucissimae. Quin hoc in primis apud alios improbant populos, quod legum interpretumque volumina, non infinita sufficiunt. Ipsi uero censent iniquissimum: ullos homines his obligari legibus quae aut numerosiores sint, quam ut perlegi queant, aut obscuriores quam ut a quovis possint intelligi.

Porro causidicos, qui causas tractent callide ac leges vafre disputent, prorsus omnes excludunt. Censent enim ex usu esse ut suam quisque causam agat, eademque referat iudici quae narraturus patrono fuerat. Sic et minus ambagum fore et facilius elici veritatem dum eo dicente quem nullus patronus fucum docuit. Iudex solerter expendit singula et contra versutorum calumnias simplicioribus ingeniis opitulatur. Haec apud alias gentes in tanto perplexissimarum acervo legum difficile est observari.
Thomas More was a lawyer.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?