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Report No. 58

Judges must possess vision

10.19. Discussing the function of the Judge, W.A. Robson1 as pointed out that stress is always laid on the duty of a Judge to be a trustee of the past, but, in reality, it is far more important that he should be a prophet of the future, in so far as that is compatible with the faithful administration of the existing body of law. Even as to the problem of judicial interpretation, a Judge must be endowed not only with deep knowledge of law, but must also possess a proper vision about the significance of the role of law in a democratic State. As Cardozo has observed.2

"The problem of judicial interpretation is to hold a just middle way between excess of valour and excess of caution." "My duty as a Judge may be", said Cardozo,3 "to objectify in law not my own aspirations and convictions and philosophies, but the aspirations and convictions and philosophies of men and women of my times. Hardly shall I do this well if my own sympathies and beliefs and passions and deviations are with a time that is past."

This illustrates the proposition which we have just enunciated namely, that both lawyers and Judges must bring to bear upon their respective tasks not only their skills as technicians in the law, but also their vision as jurists.

1. Morris R. Cohen, A Dreamer's Journey, (Autobiography of Morris R. Cohen), pp. 180-181.

2. Robson Justice and Administrative Law, pp. 242-245.

3. Margaret E. Hall, (Ed.) Selected Writings of Benjamin Nathan Cardoze, p. 40

4. Cardozo Nature of the Judicial Process, p. 173.

Structure and Jurisdiction of the Higher Judiciary Back

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