Injustice often arises also through chicanery, that is, through an over-subtle and even fraudulent construction of the law. This it is that gave rise to the now familiar saw, “More law, less justice.”
[Existunt etiam saepe iniuriae calumnia quadam et nimis callida sed malitiosa iuris interpretatione. Ex quo illud “summum ius summa iniuria” factum est iam tritum sermone proverbium.]
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 10 (1.10) / sec. 33 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
But another great spring from which injuries arise, is some quirk or cavil, and an oversubtle and malicious interpretation of the laws; from whence that saying, "The height of justice is the height of roguery," is now become a daily and common proverb among us.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]
Injustice is often done by artful evasions, and from a too shrewd, but malicious interpretation of the laws. Hence the proverb, "the strictest justice is the greatest injury," has become quite familiar in conversation.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]
Very often wrongs arise through a quirk, and through a too artful but fraudulent construction of the law. Hence, "the rigour of law is the rigour of injustice," is a saying that has now passed into a proverb.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]
There are, also, wrongs committed by a sort of chicanery, which consists in a too subtle, and thus fraudulent, interpretation of the right. Hence comes the saying: The extreme of right is the extreme of wrong.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]
A common form of injustice is chicanery, that is, an over-subtle, in fact a fraudulent construction of the law. Hence the hackneyed proverb: "The greatest right is the greatest wrong."
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]
A perversion of justice, some extremely clever but harmful interpretation of a statute, also is a frequent cause of wrongdoing. Hence we have the saying, "Extreme legality is the worst law," a proverb become a cliche by daily use.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]
Added on 26-Oct-20 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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