Justification and Principle of the Law in Democracy

All laws need to be interpreted, and ambiguities and uncertainties are inevitable. There are two ways of dealing with this.

The first is to try to specify every detail.

The second is to emphasize the purposes of legislation and the principles underlying it as a guide to interpretation by the individuals who are expected to follow it and the judges who may be called on to adjudicate it. Modern practice is increasingly emphasizing the latter while never eschewing the former.

The proposed search for justifications of public institutions provides values that can inform the principles of the laws that govern those institutions. Such values provide the key to synchronizing them with ethical standard setting and institutional reform. To do this, the principles underlying new and existing legislation should be clearly stated and the text of the legislation considered to ensure that it is consistent with those principles.


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