The Christian and the Legal System
A courtroom is the last place most people would hope to find themselves. The majority of people, even Christians, have had some experience with the legal system whether in traffic court, family court, civil court or criminal court. Admittedly, while our system of justice is less than perfect, it is far superior when compared to the legal systems of other countries.Since Biblical times, people have had laws to govern their conduct and impose liability. For example, the Law of Moses defined negligent acts and omissions which resulted in civil liability: Digging a pit but failing to cover it (Exodus 21:33-34), Allowing animals to trespass on someone’s property causing damage (Exodus 22:5), starting a fire but allowing it to burn someone else’s property (Exodus 22:6) and building a rooftop but failing to secure it to keep people from falling off (Deut.22:8). Today, there are many laws that impose liability for different types of negligent acts.
Trial lawyers fulfill an important role in our society as they seek justice for their clients on a daily basis. Unfortunately, most people view the legal profession with skepticism and too many have been deceived into believing that tort reform is the answer to controlling lawsuits. While most people believe that the courts are flooded with personal injury cases, the truth is that most lawsuits involve business disputes. Tort reform only serves to take away the rights of victims and instead rewards negligent and careless behavior. It essentially lowers the standard of conduct instead of upholding accountability.
As a former insurance adjuster, the only thing that mattered in claims handling was the insurance company’s bottom line and how this would affect my yearly performance review. Insurance companies have almost succeeded in changing the public perception of the legal profession. As a result, many people (including Christians) have a negative perception of trial lawyers. While there are still trial attorneys who only perpetuate the negative image of the profession, there are also a few Christian trial lawyers who are slowly trying to uplift the perception and demonstrate that God can be glorified even when advocating for their client.
Christians should not hesitate in seeking redress when certain laws or rights are not respected. Believers should be wise and always seek counsel, preferably with an attorney who will be accountable not only to their client or to the state bar but who will ultimately be accountable to God.