The Purpose of Judicial Law

Resolve Personal Issues Amongst the Citizenry

Society can be much like nature, even though we think of it otherwise; meaning, just as alpha male lions battle amongst one another to reign supreme over a tribe, likewise will individuals, organizations, and governments combat one another. Such is because the nature of living: any living organism with an interest, indeed, will at some point come upon an unforeseeable conflict with another organism.

As the thinking animals we are, we sought a means to resolve our conflicts in a manner markedly less brute. As a result, we have birthed courts. But make no confusion of such change, for those mental states which fuelled our brutish behaviour reside nonetheless in our make-up. Such is evident in those cases wherein a citizen makes an attempt to use the law not for the appeal to a higher principle: justice, but to instead bring upon another a great harm. Some laws are nothing more than rules backed by threats, which when broken result in the carrying out of said threats, and there are citizens who use these circumstances for their own benefit: be it vengeance, economic gain, etc..

The courts never endorse the utilization of statutes and judges to engage in self-interested behaviour as above said. The philosophy of court is to strive for, among the rulings between citizens, organizations, and governments:

…Access to Justice; Expedition and Timeliness; Equality, Fairness, and Integrity; Independence and Accountability; and Public Trust and Confidence.

So, despite the malicious intentions of some, courts strive for ideals such as individual justice for individual cases.  To strive for anything less than ideal, especially of the ideals already mentioned, would be to strive for something inherently flawed; that is, to strive for something already found amongst any human would be to strive for something less than perfection. In other words, the usage of the court both in present and past reflects not the purpose or nature of court but rather the purpose and nature of an individual, of which can sometimes be unsavoury. The courts are not meant to be weapons which we should harm one another with.

Interpret and Establish Law

A court will serve the purpose of sorting out the particular instances for when and how statutes apply, and such is by design. By default, statutes are written in a generalizable fashion. They are created to apply to everyone. As a result of their general nature, it takes someone of expert judgement to determine their application to instances too obscure or unforeseeable by general analysis.

In determining the applicability of certain statutes to the facts of a particular case, a judge must inquire about the stated purpose of a statute and the intentions which the legislature that created it had in mind. Likewise, a judge can either look to prior cases to consider rulings around a particular statute or rely on their own knowledge an experience.

Furthermore, when there is not yet any law for a specific case at hand, the judiciary will establish the law. A judge may do so by looking into case law and applying the principle of stare decisis; meaning, the judge relies on the precedent set before hand. In addition, the judge, if there be absolutely no previous rulings, may formulate their own law: common law.

Determine the Administration of Sanctions

Yet another purpose of the judiciary is to uphold the law that is consistent with the constitution. Judiciaries have the responsibility of handing down to those who enforce the law various sanctions for when the law has been broken. Like when another person neglects their duty and causes the harm of another citizen by doing so. The judiciary must determine both the appropriate sanction to be applied as well as whether a rule or law had been broken to begin with.


We have law because we seek order. But order, despite being one word, is many things. There is public order, political order, social order, economic order, international order, and moral order. Indeed, order is quite complex. And so we have in our legal systems various branches and rules of law to achieve order in the variety of domains previously mentioned. Of those domains, social order is most relevant to the judiciary. The judiciary serves as a means for citizens to engage in legal analysis, so that they may resolve their conflicts in a peaceful manner. The purpose of the judiciary, then, is to maintain social order.


Ideasinhat is a business development analyst and longtime reader of academic literature. He writes books and essays on science and philosophy, and posts them to this website. The essays, as with the books, cover topics from psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science to economics, politics, and law.

4 thoughts on “The Purpose of Judicial Law

  1. How can Judges be required to defend the Constitutional rights of Spouses who contest divorce via “no fault divorce”?

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