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Justice Does Not Equal Fairness

As much as people want justice, they must recognize that the justice system is not the fairness system. Justice in our legal system is anything but “fair.” Why? Because, whose definition of fair are we going to use?


We all see fairness a bit differently. Our view of it is inherently influenced by our experiences and our daily lives.


That’s probably why so many people walk out of the courtroom disappointed. Getting a judge and twelve jurors to see things the same way that a plaintiff or a defendant sees things is highly unlikely. We just haven’t all had the same experiences, and we are not living the same lives.


But, when you go to court, that’s what you get. In court you get a mix of personal perceptions that you hope will align with your definition of fair. You are hoping for the stars to align, the seas to part, and that there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


That bet comes with risk. It will also cost you time and money. You can only appeal so many times before no, means no. Then it’s over – in the justice system at least – but, not emotionally.


Whatever decision is handed down is something you have to live with. That’s a heavy weight.


Plaintiffs and defendants can go years fighting battles to get validation of a right or a wrong. There is no feeling quite like the feeling of being told “you’re wrong”. Except, perhaps, the feeling that comes when you fight for your “right” for years, through several levels of courts and attorneys, and spend every last minute and dime in your life on it only to be told “you’re wrong,” again, and again. That’s crushing.


Parties who choose to hand their future over to the justice system, and who choose to risk so much, must believe that the system will be fair. Otherwise no one would risk it.

If they knew, and truly appreciated, that the justice system was not the equivalent of fairness, or their own definition of fairness, there is no way they would turn their future over to complete strangers. They’d instead head directly for any means of resolving their dispute that allowed them to maintain some control of the outcome.


Some process that allows them to rationalize decisions, not have to swallow another’s rationale for a different decision. Some system where self-justification is justice and resolution is fairness.


No winner. No loser. Just two equally resolved parts. Done. Over. And, moving on, and, comfortably so.


Resolution is relief. Conflict is exhausting.


You will emerge from resolution. You will sink in conflict.


Empower yourself to reach a resolution with No Lawyers Allowed. We’ll help you get there.

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*No Lawyers Allowed does not give legal advice. We educate folks about options for handling problems without needing to involve lawyers and courts, and we offer mediation and dispute resolution services. If you want legal advice, you should hire an attorney.