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NCJ Number: 51512 Find in a Library
Title: IMAGE OF JUSTICE AMONG THE POPULACE - BELGIUM
Journal: REVUE DE DROIT PENAL ET DE CRIMINOLOGIE  Volume:58  Issue:3  Dated:(MARCH 1978)  Pages:293-301
Author(s): J P GODDING
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Belgium
Annotation: THE POPULAR IMAGE OF JUSTICE, SUBSTITUTES FOR LEGAL PROCESSES, AND THE LAWYER-PUBLIC RELATIONSHIP ARE INVESTIGATED ON THE BASIS OF 66 GUIDED INTERVIEWS WITH MEMBERS OF THE LOWER CLASS IN MOLENBEEK, BRUSSELS.
Abstract: JUSTICE IS VIEWED BY THIS GROUP AS A REPRESSIVE SYSTEM NECESSARY FOR MAINTAINING ORDER: CRIMINALS ARE TO BE DEALT WITH HARSHLY, LAWYERS ARE STRANGERS, AND CIVIL JUSTICE IS UNFAMILIAR OR MIDUNDERSTOOD. MOST INTERVIEWEES CONSIDERED THE PRESENCE OF A LAWYER ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL IN COURT PROCEEDINGS BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN IGNORANCE OF THE LEGAL WORLD; THE LAWYER IS LIKE A MAGICIAN WHOSE WAYS ARE COMPLETELY FOREIGN TO THE MAN ON THE STREET. THE PUBLIC HAS BECOME FATALISTIC IN ASSOCIATING THE LAWYER WITH THE WHOLE LEGAL APPARATUS, CHARACTERIZED BY MUCH DELAY, GROTESQUE COSTUMES DISPLAYED IN A COLD EDIFICE, AND EXORBITANT FEES THAT ARE TOTALLY UNCONTROLLED. ALL OF THSE FACTORS BLOCK THE ACCESS OF THE ORDINARY INDIVIDUAL TO LEGAL COUNSEL. WHEN ACTUALLY CONFRONTED WITH LEGAL PROBLEMS, INDIVIDUALS SEEK ALTERNATIVES TO LAWYERS AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM; E.G., TRADE UNIONS FOR COLLECTIVE ACTION, THE CLERK OF THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE FOR INDIVIDUAL ADVICE, LEGAL ASSISTANCE GROUPS SUCH AS THE ONE ESTABLISHED BY LAW STUDENTS IN LOUVAIN, NOTARIES OR THEIR CLERKS, OR BUSINESSMAN COUNSELORS. FOR BETTER ACCESS AND DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION, INTERVIEWEES FAVOR A FREE COMMUNITY OFFICE. JUSTICE IS SEEN LARGELY AS A MATTER FOR THE RICH AND EQUALITY OF JUSTICE AS A FICTION. CONSEQUENTLY, THE LITTLE MAN WITHOUT RIGHTS OR ACCESS TO POWER SEEKS TO LIVE WITHOUT THE LAW AND MAINTAINS TOTAL DISINTEREST TOWARD IT. NOTES ARE SUPPLIED. --IN FRENCH. (KMD)
Index Term(s): Attorney client relations; Belgium; Citizen legal problems; Indigents; Judicial process; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Social classes
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