arbitrary | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: General Term

Arbitrary refers to actions or decisions made by a court, tribunal, or other legal authority that are not based on reason, logic, or evidence but are instead based on personal preference or bias.

In the context of procedural law, the term arbitrary is used to describe actions or decisions made by legal authorities that are not based on reason, logic, or evidence but instead are based on personal preference or bias. This can include decisions that are made without due consideration of the facts or that are made for reasons that are unrelated to the law or the specific case at hand.

Arbitrary actions or decisions can have serious consequences for individuals who are subject to them. For example, an arbitrary decision by a judge or tribunal may result in an unfair trial or an unjust outcome. This can have a significant impact on the rights and freedoms of the individual, as well as on public confidence in the justice system.

To prevent arbitrary actions or decisions, procedural law establishes clear rules and procedures that must be followed by legal authorities. These rules are designed to ensure that decisions are made in a fair and impartial manner and that they are based on evidence and the law, rather than personal bias or preference.

Procedural law also provides individuals with the right to challenge arbitrary actions or decisions through the appeals process. This allows individuals to have their cases reviewed by a higher court or tribunal, which can overturn or modify an arbitrary decision and ensure that justice is served.

However, preventing arbitrary actions or decisions is not always straightforward. Legal authorities may be influenced by a variety of factors, including personal bias, political pressure, or institutional norms. In some cases, procedural rules may be disregarded or circumvented in order to achieve a desired outcome.

To address these challenges, procedural law includes a range of mechanisms for promoting transparency, accountability, and fairness. For example, legal authorities may be required to provide written explanations for their decisions, which can be reviewed and challenged by other authorities. In addition, legal authorities may be subject to oversight by independent bodies, such as ethics committees or ombudsmen, which can investigate allegations of misconduct or abuse of power.

Despite these mechanisms, arbitrary actions or decisions can still occur in the justice system. To prevent these occurrences, it is important to promote a culture of transparency, accountability, and fairness within the legal system. This can involve measures such as training legal authorities on the importance of impartiality and due process, establishing clear guidelines for decision-making, and ensuring that legal authorities are subject to meaningful oversight and accountability mechanisms.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 04/26/2023


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