Thursday, August 27, 2009

The law is working well – what does “working” mean?

Even the vaguest combination of logic and economics (not to mention law) suggests to state that “the law is working well” as so many politicians have in the post referendum wriggle out on smacking, requires at least the following:

1. That the 30 or so people reported to have been charged and convicted would not have been charged and convicted under the previous law when it was indeed appropriate that they should have been charged, and,

2. that the said charging and conviction produced material progress toward the policy objectives which are behind the law in some way which the previous law would not have, and,

3. That the entire exercise taken in totality  delivered these benefits in amounts which exceeded the costs (including factors such as costs to those dobbed in but not charged)of procuring them.

Passing a law, telling the Gendarmes to “go easy” and then observing that only a small number of people were charged meets none of the minimal tests set out above and does not constitute anything “working” – quite regardless of your views on the particular piece of law in question.

Lets try to get the brain work if not the legal work right…

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