This book focuses on improving our legal system and inspiring people to act ethically so we can achieve a free and peaceful world. As I have previously mentioned, the 3L Legal Principle is insufficient to underpin the entirety of a legal system.1 Nor is the 3L Moral Principle sufficient to underpin the whole of a person’s morality.xix However, as I have previously discussed, adherence with the 3LP generally is necessary for either to be just and effective. Without adopting the 3L Legal Principle as the basis of our legal system, we necessarily permit legalized and institutionalized aggression. With laws that allow the initiation of aggression, we can never achieve peace. Both a legal system and a system of morality have other objectives than merely prohibiting aggression. Principles such as due process and fundamental fairness, equity, separation of powers, reasonableness, an underlying property rights theory, and countless statutory construction rules are needed to constitute a complete criminal and civil justice system.

As I have previously stated, criminal law is the center of the battlefield for the person committed to the 3L Legal Principle. Abandoning all victimless crimes would go a long way to improving all criminal justice systems worldwide. The person committed to the 3L Legal Principle, as well as a fair and just world, should give some thought to other areas of the law which necessitate employing other fundamental commonly accepted moral principles related to, but never inconsistent with, the 3LP. Indeed, much of tort law and contract law help resolve less serious violations of the 3L Legal Principle as described in chapter five. However, as with all areas of law, other related principles are involved. Some of these basic fundamental moral principles, which mainly apply to areas of civil law, could be loosely described with the phrases:

“Do the Right Thing”

“Act Fairly”

“Act Reasonably”

“Keep Promises”

“Be Trustworthy”

“Be Responsible”

Correct fundamental principles act in harmony with each other. Employing these basic fundamental principles never necessitates violating the 3LP. Effective and fair civil laws conform with both the 3LP and the above principles. As with all our laws, we should intelligently fashion them to allow competent adults to both define and pursue their happiness while seeking to minimize human suffering generally.

Contract Law

Generally speaking, a contract is simply a meeting of the minds between competent adults to exchange enforceable promises. In a free society, competent adults ought to be free to exchange enforceable promises involving their bodies, property, money, and time. Most civilized countries already have a long tradition of defining, interpreting, and enforcing contracts between competent adults. In the United States, much of the law involving contracts is already consistent with the 3LP.

However, because many people fail to recognize the critical distinction between legal and moral rules, the moral conclusions of some people have been forced upon us all in some areas of contract law. For example, otherwise valid contracts involving drug sales, gambling, prostitution, assisted suicide, and even many aspects of employment contracts are often unenforceable because they violate the moral views of someone who is not a party to the contract. So long as nobody violates the 3L Legal Principle, competent adults should be free to contract with their property as they see fit.

Interpreting contracts and settling disputes are increasingly the roles of privately retained arbitrators. Because contracts are planned transactions, parties often decide how to resolve disputes and calculate damages for breach. Sometimes parties to a contract insist on a bond or valuable collateral to be held by a trusted third party and distributed in the event of a breach. There are other creative and voluntary solutions as well. There is frequently very little, and often no role, for government involvement in contract matters.

The freedom to contract is a core fundamental freedom necessary for a free and peaceful world. As with other areas of the law, there are some nuanced issues for local communities to decide on, such as competency to enter into a contract, issues regarding small print and boilerplate text, emergency issues, and defining the contours of what precisely constitutes fraud and coercion. We should always seek to calibrate the law not to permit any 3L Legal Principle violation while encouraging competent adults to peacefully enter into whatever they deem win/win agreements as often as they prefer. That competent adults are free to peacefully contract involving any aspect of their body, property, money, or time is the end of the analysis for the person committed to the 3L Legal Principle. What they contract for, even if it is unwise, unhealthy, or immoral, is their business. We are free to attempt to persuade them to adhere to the 3L Moral Principle, but they remain free to disagree.

Property Law

As was discussed in more detail in chapter four, the entire 3L Legal Principle analysis requires a preexisting underlying theory of property ownership. However, the 3LP advocate needs merely to establish an agreement with the concept that competent adults own themselves to support much of the required underlying theory of property ownership. Many people have already eloquently made a case for self-ownership.xx If competent adults own themselves, we can easily deduce most of the balance of the underlying theory of property ownership.

Ownership essentially means the right to make decisions over the property to the exclusion of all others. If you do not assert a claim to owning yourself, what objection would you offer if another person sought to lay claim to your body or life? Suppose we all agree on self-ownership and all the implications that flow from this conclusion, such as the right to peacefully trade your labor in exchange for money that you would then similarly own. There remain other essential property rights issues that local communities must reasonably decide.

For example, issues arise over what constitutes the elements, proper delivery, and recording of a deed. Without resolving these questions, disputes arise over who is the rightful property owner. There are many other issues for local communities to resolve involving real estate purchase agreements, mortgages, recording acts, landlord-tenant law, estate issues, concurrent ownership of real property, covenants, easements, and dealing with various trespasses, including what trespasses are considered di-minimis. While we can resolve these issues in different ways without violating the 3L Legal Principle, simply adhering to the 3L Legal Principle does not resolve any of these issues.

Different communities have adopted various solutions to these issues. In many cases, there is no one correct answer. Local communities have arrived at slightly different approaches to these issues without violating the 3LP by employing the other fundamental principles described in this section. Indeed, other than some concepts involving adverse possession and eminent domain, very little in property law, as it is currently interpreted and enforced in American jurisprudence, would need to be altered to achieve a just, free, and peaceful world.

Tort Law

A “tort” is a civil wrong, other than a breach of contract, that causes a person to suffer damages or some other type of harm. Torts can be intentional, such as assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. Torts such as civil fraud can also cause economic harm. As was discussed previously, most of these intentional torts also amount to a serious violation of the 3L Legal Principle. We often deal with them as criminal violations and civil tort claims.

Torts can also be of the unintentional variety, such as negligence. A person acts negligently if they act unreasonably. If one person’s unreasonableness causes harm to another person or their property, then the tort of Negligence has been established in most cases. While these are less serious violations of the 3L Legal Principle, they are violations nonetheless and therefore subject the tortfeasor to formal civil consequences. As with contract and real property law, most of the existing laws in American jurisprudence regarding tort law are compatible with the 3L Legal Principle. As with many areas of the law, other fundamental moral principles, which are entirely consistent with the 3LP, are necessary to resolve these issues.

As is the case now, local communities must resolve many issues in tort law without connection to the 3L Legal Principle. These issues include the scope of the duty owed to act reasonably as applied to people in varying different positions, products liability issues, whether strict liability ought to apply in any circumstance, and how to determine “proximate cause” such that liability does not extend too remotely, comparative fault questions and what properly constitutes a valid assumption of risk. There are many other issues as well.

Merely adopting and complying with the 3L Legal Principle does not resolve these issues. Local communities must determine which rules best promote the related fundamental principles described in this section. For the most part, the person committed to improving the world by promoting the 3LP and world peace has little quarrel with existing tort law in the United States.

Trials, Appeals and Evidence Law

Legal issues surrounding trials, appeals, and what evidence should be admissible in court generally do not involve a 3LP analysis. Instead, these are the essential rules to govern the procedure by which we settle legal disputes. There are many different ways to resolve disputes. An adversarial justice system, where the parties each present their best case to a neutral decisionmaker, is probably the most effective way to find the truth and get the correct result. Indeed, while there is room for improvement, the rules we have now in these areas are generally pretty good.

To be fair, we cannot expect perfection in any area from either a criminal or civil justice system. This conclusion remains true even if we perfectly calibrate all our laws around the 3L Legal Principle and related principles as suggested in this book. We should expect a certain percentage of people in any given profession or area to act corruptly and in bad faith. Because administering any justice system will always involve people, some of whom will be dishonest, we will never achieve perfection. Perfection should, therefore, not be the yardstick by which we measure. Undoubtedly, America’s current criminal and civil justice systems do not always get the correct result. The existing systems could undoubtedly be improved and refined. We should discern between a problem with the system’s rules and a problem with some of the people administering those rules. They are different problems. As a practicing criminal defense attorney for almost three decades, I have many opinions and suggestions on how best to improve America’s adversarial justice systems. In this area, there is room for reasonable minds to disagree. There are also many judgment calls and public policy considerations that are best left to local communities to determine.

The differences in opinion on these issues do not prevent us from achieving a free and peaceful world. We can resolve many of the substantial problems in the criminal justice system if we calibrate our laws around the 3L Legal Principle. This calibration would result in a sharp decrease in the overall number of cases. The current crushing volume of unnecessary cases, mainly resulting from the supremely foolish war on drugs, which are processed in the justice system by prosecutors, public defenders, judges, and many others, always result in less attention given to many cases worthy of closer and more reasoned inquiry. In such a busy environment, it is easy to understand how errors occur that otherwise would not if all parties in the system expended sufficient time, energy, and resources on only the proper cases where someone adequately alleges a violation of the 3L Legal Principle.

We anchor many other procedural rights such as the right to remain silent, the burden of proof, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, the right to be represented by a competent attorney, and the right to appeal on other fundamental principles described in this section. While always in harmony with the 3LP, they are derived from other basic principles. Assuming we could better align our substantive laws with the 3L Legal Principle, our current laws and rules surrounding how we conduct trials, appeals, and admit evidence would not stand in the way of achieving a free and peaceful world.

We can say the same about the civil justice system. Simply aligning civil laws around the 3L Legal Principle would also result in a much lower volume of cases in the system. Many coercive civil laws exist in employment law, tax law, worker’s compensation law, social security law, elder law, and bankruptcy law. We should immediately abolish all laws inconsistent with the 3L Legal Principle. As such, all disputes over how these coercive civil laws apply would evaporate and dramatically decrease the overall caseload in the civil justice system.

The question of how best to resolve disputes has been carefully evolving for centuries. While there remains room for improvement, we should be proud of the legal and procedural mechanisms which have developed as part of a diligent effort to achieve fair hearings, trials, and appeals in many civilized countries. Our focus should not necessarily be on how best to improve the mechanism for resolving the dispute but on correcting the substantive law that is at issue in many current legal controversies.