The Nation

opinion

Smaller
Larger

Justice must be seen to be done

When a Thai court announces its verdict, the losing party often cries that the decision was biased. Witness the red shirts vowing to march in support of Yingluck Shinawatra after the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled she had abused her power.

I suggest that "justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done", and Britain's Lord Chief Justice Hewart famously said. When justice is "seen to be done", all parties are more willing to accept the verdict, even if they are unhappy with it.

Thus, whenever a nationally important verdict is delivered, the law society, scholars, et al should offer in-depth explanations of the law and how it was applied, seeking to explain in layman's terms the approaches of the defence and the prosecution as well as the judges' rationale. These should be made available to everyone via the mass media.

Such extensive discussions will strengthen rule of law by making laws understandable to those affected by them, and will help insulate the judiciary from political pressure because they know that their verdicts will be closely scrutinised.

Burin Kantabutra

Bangkok


Comments conditions

Users are solely responsible for their comments.We reserve the right to remove any comment and revoke posting rights for any reason withou prior notice.