We have interviews recommending books on justice, some on practical issues like the merits of trial by jury, or the underfunding of the UK’s criminal system, which is covered by the "Secret Barrister" in his interview on justice and the law. Others are more abstract, such as the role of honour in societies and what that tells about shifting frameworks of morality, freedom, discussed by John Kempfner, former CEO of Index on Censorship and the role and the ethical justifications (or lack of them) for torture, which is covered by the Juan Mendez, the UN’s former special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.
We have four interviews on human rights. John Tasioulas, professor of politics, philosophy and law at King’s College London discusses whether human rights can exist outside of some legal framework. Steve Crawshaw of Amnesty International takes a more historical perspective, looking at human rights from the perspective of the Iranian revolution, the Soviet bloc, Rwanda, the Belgian Congo and other historical epochs. Shami Chakrabarti, politician and former director of Liberty, the National Council for Civil Liberties, discusses Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as a metaphor for the war on terror. And Gary Bass, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton discusses war crimes trials, just wars and genocide.
Elsewhere Professor Colleen Murphy discusses transitional justice and Will Hutton talks about fairness and equality. Other books touching on justice and related political and ethical issues can be found in our sections on philosophy, politics and society and religion.
The English legal system is struggling to ensure justice. Drastic government cuts and disastrous reforms have led to innocent people being let down by the system again and again. Reporting anonymously from the front line, The Secret Barrister sees it as their duty to keep the public informed. Here they discuss the books that have shaped the way they think about justice and its relation to the law.
by Ruti G Teitel
A Human Being Died That Night
by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law
by Mark A Drumbl
Imperfect Justice: An East-West Diary
by Inga Markovits
Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian Civil War
by Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple
When a period of war or oppression draws to a close, how should a country face up to past wrongdoing while creating a future free of conflict? Colleen Murphy—professor of law, philosophy and political science at the University of Illinois—discusses five books that examine the issues at the heart of ‘transitional justice.’
What are human rights? Are they reducible to the rights enshrined in law or do they somehow objectively exist? Philosopher John Tasioulas picks the best five books on human rights.
The Princeton philosophy professor tells us about the meaning of honour, how it’s won and lost, and what role it has played in the history of moral change
Principles of Social Justice
by David Miller
The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
by Amartya Sen
Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten The World Economy
by Raghuram G Rajan
by Owen Jones
What is the difference between fairness and equality? In contemporary capitalist societies, some inequality is inevitable and desirable. But the rewards for the few at the top have soared while the rest have been squeezed. Is this fair? We need a new social contract, says the author and columnist
Can torture ever be justified? No, says the UN special rapporteur, who tells us how torturers try to excuse themselves and what remedies should be available to surviving victims
Amnesty International’s director of international advocacy chooses books that illuminate historical and contemporary human rights issues, from the Belgian Congo to Iran
Emeritus professor at the LSE’s Mannheim Centre for the Study of Criminology & Criminal Justice tells us about the consequences of mass incarceration and a breakdown in social and moral cohesion
Alex McBride, criminal barrister and author of Defending the Guilty, chooses books that illustrate the history of trial by jury. He points to influential cases in British legal history, and shows how poor regulation of the legal profession in the 19th century resulted in some questionable practices.