What Is Justice and Where Is the Last Instance to Determine It
A practical definition of law is that it is society’s attempt to shape and regulate human conduct by means of signs, signals, and words, backed by the force of the state. Laws do not hook onto the real world by themselves. they must be interpreted and applied by the people who want to obey them and by the judicial system that wants to enforce them. Accordingly, the judge is preoccupied with matters of interpretation. This is the more reason why H.L.A. Hart has suggested that each word has a core incontrovertible meaning as well as indeterminate penumbral meanings. The objective of the law is for a harmonious society. The idea of a harmonious society is portrayed by Ronald Dworkin as one which every person is given what is due him or her. He begins his writing with the assertion that it is not a childish fiction, as Hart believes, that Judges never make law. He, however, admits law changes at the hands of judges, but he maintains that the body of the law itself dictates these changes. Such changes are discoveries of an underlying identity, so that a judge who announces a novel rule may actually be describing existing law more accurately. The judge should not act outside the law, or in the penumbra, as Hart named it. Judges always maintain that they arrived at the decision by following the law, not their own evaluative decisions. If judges were to step outside the law in their decisions they would be applying retroactive legislation. This would make the idea of the rule of law unjust.