The administration of justice is the civilized substitute for private vengeance and retribution. It means the maintenance of rights in the political community by the physical force of the State. It involves
i). the physical force of the State,
ii). Politically organized society and
iii). Maintenance of rights as the object.
Definitions to Administration of Justice:
According to Lord Bryce;
“There isn’t any better test of the excellence of a government than the efficiency of its judicial system”.
According to George Washington;
“Administration of justice is the firmest pillar of government. Law exists to bind together the community. It is sovereign and cannot be violated with impunity”.
According to Salmond;
“Law is the body of principles recognized and applied by the State in the administration of justice”.
Administration of Justice is Necessary: –
1). For uniformity (to live together).
2). For protection of rights.
3). For peace and stability.
4). For integration of Society.
5). To check Injustice.
6). For smooth running of State.
7). To avoid Lawlessness.
8). To promote equity.
9). To ensure Rule of Law.
Read more: Advantages and Disadvantages of Law.
Origin of Administration of Justice:
The origin of the administration of justice is as old as Man. In primitive stages man used to redress his wrongs violently by self-help or with the help of his friends or kinsmen.
As society developed and civilization advanced, quarrels between rival factions were settled by the elder men. In the beginning, this function was exercised by the pater familias but later by persons of position, influence and social status.
At the latest stage of society the King, being the fountainhead of justice, administered justice through appointed jurists. In modern times this function is performed by Magistrates and Judges appointed by the State.
Thus, administration of justice passed through three stages. The first and primary stage was the period of self-help, the second and transitional stage was the period of social force, and the third and final stage has been the period of State control.
Kinds of Public Justice:
Justice is of two kinds –
1). Natural or moral Justice:
It means “the enforcement of rights and punishment of wrongs per moral standards, or conceptions of right and wrong, just and unjust, appealing naturally to the mind and reason of man”. Justice in this sense stands independent of recognition by the State.
2). Legal Justice:
This means justice according to what the law declares to be just.
Kinds of Legal Justice:
Legal justice has been classified into two sections –
i). Public Justice: Public justice comprises the rules which especially relate to the structure, power, rights and activities of the State.
Public justice is not the whole of the law that is applicable to the State and to its relations with its subjects, but only those parts of it which are different from the private justice concerning the subjects of the state and their relations to each other.
ii). Private justice: Private Justice includes all the residue of legal principles. It comprises all those rules which especially concern the subjects of the State in their relations to each other, together with those rules which are common to the State and its subjects.
It owns land and chattels, makes contracts, employs agents, and servants, and enters into various forms of the commercial undertaking.
Private justice is what the person whose right is violated wants. Public Justice is what a plaintiff demands and receives from a Court if private justice has been denied to him. Private justice is the object for which the court exists.
Kinds of Public Justice:
Public justice is divisible into two kinds—civil justice and criminal justice.
Civil justice consists of the enforcement of rights whereas criminal justice is concerned with their punishment. A wrong which can be the subject-matter of a civil remedy is called a civil wrong while the one which can be considered as the subject-matter of a criminal proceeding is called a crime.
Justice is either civil or criminal according to the nature of the proceedings that may follow.
Purpose of Criminal justice:
Criminal justice has four objects in view in punishing offenders:
3). Reformative and
Advantages of Legal Justice:
Legal justice ensures uniformity and certainty within the administration of justice. Everybody knows what the law is and there’s no scope for arbitrary action.
Even the judges have to give decisions according to the declared law of the country. As the law is certain, citizens can shape their conduct accordingly.
Another advantage is that there is impartiality in the administration of justice. Judges are required to provide their decisions in keeping with the pre-determined legal principles and they cannot transcend them. Law is not for the convenience of the judges or for any particular individual.
Law IS already laid down and judges have to act accordingly. It is in this way that impartiality is secured in the administration of justice. In the words of Chief Justice Coke: “The wisdom of law is wiser THAN any man’s wisdom.” Judges can avail of the wisdom accumulated during the last many generations.
Legal justice represents the collective wisdom of the community which is often to be preferred to the wisdom of any one individual.
Disadvantages of Legal justice:
Law is rigid. Law has already been laid down in precedents. It is not always possible to regulate it to the changing needs of society. Society may change faster than legal justice and will lead to hardship and injustice in certain cases. Judges influence the principle that “hard cases should not make bad law”.
Another defect of legal justice is its formalism or technicalities. Judges attach more importance to legal technicalities than they deserve. They give importance to form than to substance.
Another defect of legal justice is that it is Complex. Sir John Salmond concludes: “The law is, without doubt, a remedy for greater evils, yet it brings with its evils of its own.”