The Law Is Human and Flawed

Longreads

What is lawful is not always identical to what is right. Sometimes it falls to a judge to align the two. Ward’s judgment runs to more than eighty closely typed pages. It is beautifully written, delicate and humane, philosophically astute, ethically sensitive, and scholarly, with a wide range of historical and legal references.

The best of judgments, as I was to discover, are similarly endowed. They form a neglected sub-genre of our literature, read in their entirety by almost no one except law studentsand fellow judges. And in the Family Division particularly, they present a hoard of personal drama and moral complexity. They are on fiction’s terrain, even though they are bound, unlike the fortunate novelist, to a world of real people and must deliver a verdict.

But as we all know, verdicts, indeed the whole system, can also be asininetough, even tragic, for its innocent…

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