center for sustainable justice

Sustainable Justice

To understand the concept of Sustainable Justice one should realize that justice is a power institution and that deployment of power causes harm if it is not consciously managed so that any deployment of power will lead to effects that support sustainable interests of society. We know from natural sources of power, like water, electricity, or gas that if a dike, a cable or a pipe brakes down we get a flood, a shock, a fire or an explosion. We know as well that advanced technology enables us to achieve unprecedented results with the least use of power. These principles are seamlessly applicable to judicial power. However, men have created judicial power, but neglected to develop a solid system of dikes / isolation / pipes, with advanced technology to secure that the best results would be achieved with the least use of judicial power, and to prevent that deployed power will cause unnecessary harm, to litigants, to the litigants’ social networks, and to society as a whole.

Values derived from the sustainability movement are excellent agents for making justice more effective and constructive to society. No other criteria are more to the point and appropriate to justice. No other criteria get deeper insights in the effects of the justice system on the quality of life in society. For that reason it is appropriate to work out a concept of Sustainable Justice in a Sustainable Justice Charter

Conflicts are symptoms that harmony in someone’s social network is impaired. No doubt that it will be anyone’s best interest that the quality of his social network will be restored sustainably in the shortest possible time. From the perspective of social sustainability conflict resolution is therefore: restoring balance and harmony in relationships.

Justice is deployment of power. Courts are power institutes. Judges are the main distributors of judicial power. In a democracy judicial power is attributed to courts by the people and for the benefit of society. From the perspective of social sustainability, and from general rule of law perspective, civilians may expect that judicial power will be deployed in ways that are beneficial to society and beneficial for their general well-being. Therefore, courts should be transparent towards civilians about their value for society, the beneficial effect that court activities have on the quality of social life and social wellbeing.

Conflicts are dynamic phenomena, rooted in the emotional world. They grow when upcoming relevant emotions in a relationship are not shared. If they would be shared, the relationship would change. If not, they crop up and become the source of conflict that will be acted out in a variety of issues and disputes in the material world.

Conflicts, and the dynamic of conflict, should be observed as normal phenomena in human life. They are related to stagnation in development of human consciousness by free human will. Consciousness development is fundamental to human being. It is what human beings discern from all other living beings on the earth, plants and animals. Plants and animals follow, and are bound to, their nature and instincts. Contrarily, human beings are rational beings. They unconsciously develop lots of habits, and follow many habits of others. But human beings are always free to change habits. Feelings and emotions are the driving forces for this change. The human mind and intuition are the human agents to direct, and change, human behavior. Unlike plants and animals, human beings are rational beings, having a free will. They are always able to use their free will to get a better life. Except during sleep or phases of unconsciousness there is no moment that human beings are not developing consciousness about their lives, and the way they prefer to live. Conflicts cause stagnation in this continuing and ’organic’ process of consciousness development by free will.

Conflicts are changing continuously. Everything that occurs or happens in relationship to it, is changing it. They escalate, or de-escalate. Conflicts grow when sharing of emotions is blocked; they shrink when emotions are shared. Therefore, rational arguments generally cause escalation of conflicts. Contrarily, sharing emotions, personal stories and perceptions, including being listened to (as that is an essential aspect of sharing), have a de-escalating effect. Sharing of emotions and personal stories transforms relationships, and creates room for other behavior of either side. It helps overcoming the cause of stagnation of consciousness development by free will, and thereby resolving the underlying conflict.