Law and Modern Society

Law and Modern Society

Law and Modern Society

Law and Modern Society

Synopsis

The law in a modern society is a bulky and complex instrument, with a tendency to become less fixed, less rule-oriented, and more discretionary. An institution made by men for the government of men, the law today can all too readily confuse and dismay us. How and why is so much new law made? By what right does a judge order that a man be sent to jail? Why is so much law so bad, and why should we, the people, accept the laws made by those who claim the right to govern us? In this lucid, stimulating and completely updated survey which presupposes no specialist knowledge of the subject, P. S. Atiyah introduces the reader to a number of fundamental issues about the law, the legal profession, and the adjudicative process. This new edition gives greater emphasis to the effect of membership of the European Community on English law, and gives an expanded account of the European convention on Human Rights with its subsequent effects on English law. Atiyah also looks at the recent controversy over the independence of the judiciary, problems arising from the cost of legal services and legal aid, and the many appalling miscarriages of justice which have disfigured the legal system in the past decade.

Excerpt

In the twelve years since this book was first published many major changes have occurred in our laws, our legal institutions, and the subjects of most current interest and importance. This edition has been extensively revised to shift the focus to these areas of greater relevance and topicality. In particular, I have given much greater emphasis to the effect of membership of the European Community on our law. It is surprising how few members of the general public appear to be aware that it has become clear in the past few years that, for all practical purposes, the sovereignty of Parliament is now subject to the laws of the European Community. Even in a book designed primarily for laymen this has seemed such a remarkable change in the foundations of our legal system as to justify a full account of what has happened and how it has happened. I have also explored briefly the possibility of the creation of a federal Europe. In addition I have greatly expanded the account of the European Convention on Human Rights, and its effects on our law. Other subjects dealt with more fully in this edition include recent controversy over the independence of the judiciary, problems arising from the cost of legal services and legal aid, the Mackay reforms which have changed the relationship between the two parts of the legal profession, the many appalling miscarriages of justice which have disfigured the legal system in the past decade, and the effect of recent changes in the law on the 'right to silence'.

I am much indebted for research assistance in preparing this edition to Mr Craig Arnott.

P. S. ATIYAH

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