Conflicts as Property – Critical Anaylsis

In the article Conflicts as Property, written by Nils Christie, Christie states that conflicts in western society are the property of the involved parties and those legal conflicts have been immediately taken away from their possession (Christie, 1977). This is occurs when victims in criminal law lose their right to participate in their own legal issues (Christie, pg. 8). Christie expresses that these conflicts are eliminated from the involved parties, rather than being used to benefit the individuals. “Conflicts might kill, but too little of it might paralyze.” (Christie, 1977, pg. 9)

Christie presents an example of a non-western mechanism for conflict resolving, where both parties had direct participation of their own conflict resolution, while other individuals (i.e. relatives, friends and judges) would have little involvement and did not attempt to take over the case (Christie, 1977). Christie demonstrates that the legal procedure of such conflicts are being dissociated from their owners in which continues to remain. The conflicts are repressed in such a manner where there is no attention given to the victim, revolving the concentrated attention to the background of the criminal (Christie, 1977, pg. 11).

He elevates by alleging that this continuous process has been recognized to be detrimental to all of society. The author, Nils Christie, is reasonable for making these declarations. Conflicts are the property of those whom had initiated them; therefore the property of the conflict should be taken out from the legal professionals to be restituted to those established it. The absolute fundamental purpose is to maintain social control and to provide protection of all forms of conflicts to those who inhabit within their society. The legal system aspires to provide justice to any social, economic and political conflict. This however is not the case, as the Supreme Court of Canada for example; does not allow the directly involved parties to attend their own court hearings (Christie, 1977).

The participant is presented to be a double victim, as they are portrayed as a victim via the offender but also a victim of the state due to the state having denied them their full right to participate in their own conflict (Christie, 1977). These legal professionals would steal conflicts as they convince their client’s arguments are irrelevant to their case that they should remain quite while they would present their “best” arguments. Christie raised another substantial example, a case after the Second World War that included a German man that was accused of being the head organizer that was responsibility for the Nazi movement (Christie, 1977).

The defense lawyer had chose to not discuss the facts of his course of action, but rather his lawyer had chosen to argue that his client had lacked any capabilities to organize that would required for the role, presenting how the defendant was too socially deficient and incapable to perform the actions of such a role (Christie, 1977, pg. 10). Rather than an alternative of presenting factual analysis of the case, personal inabilities were proclaimed, leading to the German man being mortified and offended. These protective procedures for individuals in society have provided great discomfort rather than actually preventing harm, which is proved to be unnecessary and potentially provides long-term harm to society as a whole. 

This process proves to fail as society is faced with another obstruction, as it does not provide the principal aspirations of justice and protecting individuals from harm but to be more precise, the legal system is destructive in a way where it is both stealing conflicts and providing actual harm to those in society. However, if such an individual does not like the manner of handling of their case by the lawyer, the individual is free to obtain another legal representative. Nevertheless, obtaining a lawyer in which will provide services that would be approved by the individual would require excessive amounts of expenses, whereas those without would be dependent on Legal Aid, showing a clear distinction between lower and higher classes during the interaction of the western legal system (Vago and Nelson, 2014, pg. 33).

In conclusion, conflicts are the property of those who initiated them but whether the legal system removes the individual’s right to participate in court, providing over-excessive protection or creating a divide among classes, the legal systems provides services that are not administrating proper justice for all of the general public which could lead to the system failing to protect our society.