Review: Watching Out: Reflections on Justice and Injustice

Watching Out: reflections on justice and injusticeWatching Out: reflections on justice and injustice by Julian Burnside
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes being unwell provides a previously hidden opportunity for something enjoyable. Today that was the opportunity to read this book from Julian Burnside offering reflections on the justice system, not just the legal system.

As those who know Burnside well, he has very strong views on subjects that touch on the availability of justice in Australia – the treatment of asylum seekers, the lack of an Australian bill or charter of human rights, the way in which access to legal remedy is often dependent upon financial resources, to name but a few. This book sees Burnside attempt to bring all his concerns about the dangers and failings of the Australian legal system, a system in which has been a participant as a practitioner of law all his adult life, into one place, and attempts to impart to the reader the importance of the place of law in society as a means of trying to find justice for those who need it.

In this endeavour, I would judge that by and large, he succeeds. His passions are clearly on display, but so is his fundamental belief in the power of the legal and justice system to provide remedies for those who have been impacted by other’s actions. It’s not all rose-coloured glasses, however. Burnside is well aware of the frailties and defects of the same system.

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