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.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 10 / sec. 33 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]

Original Latin. Alt. trans.:
  • "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)]
See Terence.
Added on 26-Oct-20 | Last updated 22-Mar-21
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