in London, July 15, 1985
Perhaps you will make a pilgrimage of professional piety to St. Ives in Cornwall, named after the patron saint of advocates. He was renowned for espousing the causes of the poor and the oppressed. In his native Brittany his anniversary is celebrated by a High Mass, at which it is customary to sing this eulogy: "Advocatus quo non latro res miranda populo." A popular translation runs as follows: "An advocate but not a thief, a thing well nigh beyond belief." No profession is more sadly misunderstood by the public than that of the advocate--unless it be that of the politician. We lead not so much with the chin as with the mouth: Violenti non fit injuria would be a complete defence to any complaint that any of us might make. But the theme of your meeting--justice for a generation--is a fit subject for lawyers and for politicians. We both have a special responsibility to see that our generation gets justice.
What do we understand by justice? For justice to prevail, the most basic requirement is the rule of law. It was your Felix Frankfurter who said: "Limited as law is, it is all that we have standing between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled feeling." How those words ring out today across a world that is wracked by terrorism, hijacking, mob violence, and intimidation. How thin is the crust of order over the fires of human appetite and the lust for naked power.
The rule of law has only prevailed for comparatively short periods of history. It exists today in only a small part of the world, of which your country and mine are the centre. We share the Magna Carta. We share the