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Old 14-04-2005, 05:26 AM   #1
taikara
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So, once again, I'm curious (dangerous hobby)...

There seems to be two aspects of laws governing human behavior, which is why lawyers are a necessary evil (though great fodder for humor).

There is the "black and white" aspect, or letter of the law, and all the shades of gray in between, known as the spirit of the law.

If you go by the letter of the law, then there tends to be no room for "special circumstances." Laws are interpreted literally, and with no room for any flexibility regarding circumstances.

If you go by the spirit, then the law becomes more open to interpretation, sometimes allowing special circumstances to reflect within judgements made.

There are of course pros and cons to both methods of approaching law. A good lawyer will know when to approach a case by the letter or by the spirit, and will do both as necessary (which is probably why most people find them so corrupt, because they don't stick to strict set of beliefs).

So, my questions are...

What do you think the pros and cons for each method is?

What do you think the best approach is, and why?

And of course, anything you want to contribute related to the topic
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Old 14-04-2005, 05:31 AM   #2
Stroggy
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Since I'm planning on studying law I guess this is a question I will one day face.

Law isn't like math, its more like a human science.
There are rules but these rules are more like boundries and one can navigate between these boundries to achieve their goal. So it is like you said: its a mixture of both.
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Old 14-04-2005, 05:49 AM   #3
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I say to the letter as far as the given information goes. Assumptions shouldn't be something the results're based upon. The given information can be interpreted, though, but without adding anything that can't be backed up by the letter.

A very simple example is a glass which contents consists of half water, half air. Correct interpretations'd be "The glass is half full" and "The glass is half empty". A wrong one would be: "The glass is half full and was full before."
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Old 14-04-2005, 08:32 AM   #4
BeefontheBone
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Generally speaking, as a liberal I'm a fan of the spirit, and very much against people who universally apply the law precisely without any regard to the circumstances.


"What letter is it, the letter of the law?"
"erm..."
"What letter is it?"
"Err, J."
"The letter of the law?"
"Yeah."
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Old 14-04-2005, 08:03 PM   #5
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???

Anyway, both kinds have their merits. When dealing with facts, obviously letter-bent. But when dealing with humans, nothing is for sure. The spirit of the law has to come into play then, because humans are fickle, strange, and random beings. :P
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Old 14-04-2005, 08:12 PM   #6
Stroggy
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yobor@Apr 14 2005, 08:03 PM
But when dealing with humans, nothing is for sure. The spirit of the law has to come into play then, because humans are fickle, strange, and random beings. :P
Its as I said, the human element makes it impossible to simply apply a set condition to every occasion.
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Old 14-04-2005, 08:18 PM   #7
Sebatianos
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I think this is more a question that you should ask the person who wrote the law. That is why every law must have it's interpretation (there special circumstances can be explained also). That's why (at least here) we have numerous books explaining in detail every single law - so it's not to be freely interpreted by a layer (who off course would only try to deffend his client). The person(s) who wrote the law know(s) best what the law was ment for and should explain it.

But what are the special circumstances?
If a woman is pregnant and the husband takes her to the hospital, but accidentaly causes an crash (because he was speeding) - what would happen?
If he had called an ambulance - it would have a siren and light - so people would know it's an emergency and would move out of the way. But since the husband drove a civil car - others had no way of knowing - and the fault would be his. So he should not be allowed to speed. He probably wouldn't get a ticket just for speeding though (even if the speeding tickets are ment to calm down the fast drivers, who are a hazard on the road).

It's just a thought though.

EDIT: Great thread though! k:
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Old 15-04-2005, 05:25 AM   #8
Stroggy
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sebatianos@Apr 14 2005, 08:18 PM


But what are the special circumstances?
If a woman is pregnant and the husband takes her to the hospital, but accidentaly causes an crash (because he was speeding) - what would happen?


In this case it would be called "softening circumstances", it's a term used a lot in law.
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