Nov 14, 2020 in Politics

Seeking Justice


The majority of the films shown in cinemas or on TV reflect the larger picture of what happens in society. One of those movies is A Civil Action. It is a story of two companies, Beatrice and Grace, that caused the death of 12 children due to leukemia, and the pursuit of justices proves futile. In this movie, it is evident that people live in a world of tactic and financial muscles in seeking justice rather than truth (Thompson, 2016). This essay aims to discuss the movie in details, showing its relevance in the present, the effect of morality on law as well as the challenges facing judicial actors.


There is a difference in how the law works in the books and how it is exercised in real life. The film depicts what happens in todays context where one requires a lawyer who is fully committed to their course and who is willing to defend them, just as Jerome Facher represents his client. He is conversant with everything regarding the case, and he can determine the outcomes. Just like the ways justice is bought, Jerome Facher knows that he has a higher chance of case tilting to his favor but to be certain, he offers the plaintiff $20 million (Rudin & Zaillian, 1998).

The changing view of morality comes into play where Jan Schlichtmann first declines the request to represent the parents of the deceased children because they are poor and they cannot offer a great financial deal. However, later, he accepts this request after the realization that two wealthy companies are the source of pollution. Furthermore, it is evident that one would prefer to keep his/her job at the expense of helping in seeking for justice, like in the case of Mr. Granger who fails to testify. This issue shows that morality has changed from doing right to doing what is beneficial to oneself, thus affecting law by denying justice to the poor and weak in society.

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The film portrays how the law works in the real life situation. One can see how Judge Walter J. Skinner makes a ruling against the plaintiff not based on the facts and evidence but according to the manipulation of the situation by Jerry Facher and his team to their favor. Then, Jan Schlichtmann is seen to gather more evidence from the company hired to dump the pollutants, and this seems to be a breakthrough as the companies are ordered to clean up the polluted environment.

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The legal actors face some challenges as well. First, court proceedings can be expensive, forcing small firms, such as the one for Jan Schlichtmann, to incur losses, which affects their work in seeking justice. The judges are also concerned about their job of delivering justice since some of them see crucial witnesses fail to appear in court (Rudin & Zaillian, 1998). For instance, Mr. Granger, the truck driver that transported the pollutants, did not testify at the trial since he was afraid of losing his job for testifying against his employer. The clients, like the two companies, incur serious expenses when they hire lawyers and clean environment to get rid of the pollutants as directed by the court.

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It is evident that there are no morals in the judiciary system, which makes it hard for the poor to have justice (Rudin & Zaillian, 1998). According to the stereotype painted by the lawyers in the movies, judicial system is corrupt because of the temptation of the money offered to them. For instance, Mr. Faber, Beatrice Food defense lawyer, says that court is not a place for seeking truth. At one point, Jan Schlichtmann is offered money to withdraw the case, but he declines not because it is wrong but he sees a greater reward than the money provided by the defendant. In the end, the money ruled is relatively lower than the half of what he had been offered.

Conclusively, the movie A Civil Action has clearly brought to light what exactly happens in the real world of justice. Justice is no longer decided based on truth but it is sold to the highest bidder, and the weak and sick in society find it hard to pursue the justice that they deserve so much. The locals, in this case, wanted the concerned companies to value their dignity and ask for forgiveness. It was little to ask for in this money-driven world but too hard to be offered since they never received an apology.


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