To have a fair and democratic justice system, we rely on the separation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Democracy requires transparency, impartiality, accountability, an opportunity to access information, and the opportunity to protest when things are unfair. Citizens require a clear process where they can rely on the same procedures despite their status in society. This module explores the role of justice in societies and how the Judicial Branch functions. It explores justice by looking through the lens of Lady Justice, that symbolic representation of what is good, and fair and powerful about democratic justice systems.
The module opens with a Reflection and Connection performance task that challenges students to assess their justice system and provide and anecdotal report card on its strengths and weaknesses. Students can use the information in the module to understand how justice systems differ in democracies and dictatorships. The performance task provides students with a scenario in which to apply curricular content.
The curricular content opens with an examination of the symbols of Lady Justice, and the history of separate branches for judicial systems in democracies. While examining the core content, students will explore basic features of the law in democracies, the justice system, the court system, and the differences between civil and criminal law. This module will also help students practice the skill of evaluating and assessing. They will be judges of the judicial system!
The greatest strength of this module is in that students are, with the Civic Mirror, given an opportunity to constantly assess how fair their society’s justice system is, and devise solutions how to they could make their Civic Mirror justice system more fair – if that is the goal!