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The Concept Of Global Economic Meltdown Finance Essay

1.0 INTRODUCTION

As the International Monetary Fund, IMF observed, the extent and severity of the crisis that began with the bursting of the housing bubble in the United States in August 2007 reflects the confluence of myriad of factors some of which are familiar from previous crises, while others are new. As in previous times of financial turmoil, the pre-crisis period was characterized by (i) surging asset prices that proved unsustainable; (ii) a prolonged credit expansion leading to accumulation of debt; (iii) the emergence of new types of synthetic financial instruments; and (iv) regulatory failure. This time around the rapid expansion of securitization (not itself a new phenomenon), which changed incentives for lenders and lowered credit standards caused the crisis. Systems became fragile because balance sheets became increasingly complex (further complicated by increased use of off-balance-sheet instruments). Financial market players were highly leveraged and relied on wholesale funding and external risk assessments. Cross border spillovers intensified after the crisis started because financial institutions and markets across borders were closely linked and risks highly correlated.1

No doubt, the world is inextricably linked by globalization. Thus, the economic and financial crisis, which started in the United States, destabilized markets and economies (developed, developing and underdeveloped) around the globe and, has continued to dominate discussions on the global economy. 2 These days one would hardly watch the television or browse through national and international newspapers, magazines and journals without stumbling upon headline news of how political leaders are scrambling for strategies to mitigate the impact of the financial crisis on the domestic and global economy.

1:1 CONCEPT OF GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN – AN OVERVIEW

The term economic meltdown refers to the severe economic recession that is used to characterize the current global economic crisis. The concept epitomizes the current economic scenario where virtually all countries of the world have been severely affected. Consequently, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries has gone into the negative zone, generally characterised by severe liquidity crunch, giving rise to diverse economic intervention programmes. However, in Africa most steps being taken are lopsided when one considers the Chinese meaning of crisis, which aptly describes the current meltdown.

The current global financial crisis, which was triggered by the credit crunch within the US sub-prime mortgage market, is continuing to spread and deepen in several countries. Its impact on Nigeria is evident in the performance of the Nigeria Stock Exchange and the financial system as well as in the real sector. Some of the stylized indicators include market capitalization, which fell by 45.8% in 2008; the crude oil price declined precipitously from US$147 per barrel in July 2008 to $47 per barrel in January 2009, leading to a decline in external reserves and hence accruable revenue. The debt profile is also increasing. Foreign portfolio investors have withdrawn over $15 billion, while remittances and official development assistance (ODA) are expected to fall greatly in 2009. Developmental goals will be unachievable with less budgetary allocation to social services, thus pushing a greater number of people further into poverty. Government responses to the crisis include reduction of the monetary policy rate (MPR) from 10.25-9.75%, of the cash reserve requirement (CRR) from 4.0-2.0% and of the liquidity ratio from 40.0-30.0%. These measures are required to shore up liquidity in the economy and thus keep it working. The crisis may offer an opportunity to look at sectors that have been yawning to allow them to act as pillars for growth and development of the economy: agriculture, tourism and infrastructure.3

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As international financial markets continue to tumble and national economies slip into recession, the fear of a global meltdown has begun to haunt people everywhere. Analysts commenting on the phenomenon have drawn parallels with the Great Depression of the 1930s. Clearly, what began as a financial crisis in East Asia in July 1997 has now developed into a full-blown global economic crisis. Recent developments in Japan and Russia helped to extend the crisis. It was the recent overlapping effects of the Japanese and Russian crises that have been a major cause of the recent worsening in the global economic situation. The intensification of the crisis has dramatically exposed the vulnerability of the international financial system to short-term capital flows and the policies of financial deregulation and financial liberalization being pushed by the West through the IMF, World Bank and the WTO. 4

As the waves of the financial crisis begin to pound upon the centres of world finance, there has been some belated recognition of the dangers posed by short-term capital flows. There has even been talk of developing a new architecture for the global financial system. However, for all this, the G7 leading industrialized nations and the IMF have made it abundantly clear that no fundamental change in the international system is being envisaged. In these circumstances, countries afflicted by the financial crisis have been forced to take their own measures to protect their economy. In a dramatic move in September 1998, Malaysia instituted capital controls. Malaysia has not been alone in bucking the market. The authorities in Hong Kong and Taiwan have also recently taken an active role in the financial market and instituted measures to curb and isolate speculators. It remains to be seen whether such state intervention represents a new paradigm which will challenge the prevailing free-market dogma. 5

1:2 EFFECT OF GLOBAL MELTDOWN ON BOTH FORIGN AND LOCAL CORPORATIONS

The effects of the global economic meltdown cannot be over emphasized on both the local (Nigerian) corporations and also on the multinational corporations.

The global financial crisis which started as tension in the United States financial markets which emerged in early 2007 was believed not to affect other economies such as Nigeria’s as they do not operate the same system with the U.S. The crisis which later transformed into a full-blown global financial crisis in the second quarter of 2008 started having effects on several economies which Nigeria was not exempted from.6 By the tail end of 2008 there was panic as the stock market was already at its lowest bearish level and people were of the view that the Nigerian global banks would soon cry for bailouts as many of them are quoted.6

The regulators of the economy such the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, repeatedly assured Nigerian banking public that in as much as the economy might not be insulated from the effects of the meltdown, the country’s 24 universal banks which was saved by the consolidation exercise of the sector in 2005, are strong to wither the crisis.

But as the crisis intensified, the effects of financial turmoil on developing countries increased.

There was soaring risk aversion, tumbling equity market, falling exchange rates, falling and capital flow decline, while the stock market bearish period deteriorated substantially leading to loss of investor’s confidence.

Consequently the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF revised global growth expectations from 2.5% to 0.9% as a result of the economic turmoil.7

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This showed that the world economy was mired in the severest financial crisis since the Great Depression and African countries including Nigeria have been adversely affected. However, the economic crisis has posed a lot of challenges in Nigeria which experts said have led to the shrinking of the economy.

Firstly, the falling oil prices and dwindling revenue for government which leding to less deposit for banks which depend on the public sector for bulk of their deposit liabilities.8

The fall in oil price is also said to have affected the rate of accumulation of the external reserves. Consequently, the naira has been under a lot more pressure losing more than 25% of its value from last year to first quarter of the year.

Also, the declining capital inflows into the economy have the effect of worsening the problem of relatively high operating costs occasioned by decaying infrastructure like power and transportation because of the dearth of funds for investment in infrastructural development. While the impact on banks is said to be higher operational costs as well as loss of income that could have been earned from facilitating the inflow of capital into the economy.9

Other areas where the economy was adversely affected by the meltdown is the loss of income from strategic business units like the local Foreign Currency Unit, FCU, desk in banks due to restrictive foreign exchange policies (such as the reduction in Net Open Positions, etc enacted to defend the naira) which have virtually strangled the interbank exchange market and related transaction income. There has also been reduction and re-pricing of credit lines from foreign banks and in some cases outright freezing of such lines.

This has led to loss of significant income usually earned from Trade Finance business. The capital market downturn and divestment by foreign investors leading to loss of investor’s confidence and increase in nonperforming loans from facilities granted to investors in the stock market is said to be the most severe effect of the global meltdown. Key financial institutions which directly depend on the stock market such as the stock-broking firms, rating agencies, investment and asset management companies as well as banks that are exposed to these institutions have been experiencing loss of business.

As s result of the financial meltdown, government at national and sub national level have recently increased its borrowing to cover shortfall in revenue and resultant crowding out of the private sector.10

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In spite of the notable achievements recorded in the banking sector such as the consolidation of the banks, growth in the credit system which shows that credit to the private sector grew 435% from N1.52trn in 2003 to N8.13trn in February 2009, system amongst others, the global economic crisis recent events are beginning to cast doubts on the state of the Nigerian banking sector especially with effects of the crisis. Statistics showed that since banks constitute over 65% of market capitalization, the consistent decline in the stock market has affected banking stocks more than any other sector.11 However, the net effect of this has been loss of confidence evidenced by the exit of foreign players from the market.

Apart from the growth rate of 2009 which indicators have shown to be 2.8 percent which is about half of the growth rate in 2008 as well as the vital source of deposits which the banks are seen to be losing, there is also serious concern whether Nigerian banks are resilient enough to withstand these impact of the global economic meltdown.12

Analysts are of the opinion that the Nigerian banking sectors will most likely, wax stronger and even improve its performance once the global economy returns to the path of growth.

With the current focus on stricter regulations, global reporting standards and enhanced risk management by the new Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, market watchers are of the view that the Nigerian banking sectors will most likely wax stronger.13

The financial experts believe, there is also need to review all relevant laws relating to the financial sector to strengthen its regulatory capacity, amongst others.

1:3 GLOBAL MELTDOWN CORRECTIVE MEASURE (NIGERIA & THE UK)

The response of governments to the recession has been firstly to increase their own borrowing and secondly to encourage central banks to cut interest rates. But both of these create their own problems. Government borrowing is limited by the cost of the bank bail-outs. High levels of borrowing can also push up interest rates or reduce currency values as discussed above. Both of these effects lower household real incomes and decrease spending frustrating the original purpose of the borrowing. The strategy adopted by the British government in response to this is to make tax cuts explicitly temporary. But this risks making them ineffective since households will simply save any extra income in anticipation of future tax rises.14

Cutting interest rates is also difficult. Central banks only directly control short-term interest rates and private banks have simply refused to cut long-term rates in response to central bank policies. Cuts in interest rates also have the effect of lowering both the actual returns of current pensioners living off savings and the prospective returns of future pensioners both of which may lower consumption.

More fundamentally, the room for government policy to boost the economy is limited so long as spending depends on debt because of low wages and inequality and so long as new debt is not forthcoming. Consequently, the slowdown is likely to be protracted and severe.

The financial phase of the crisis led to emergency interventions in many national financial systems. As the crisis developed into genuine recession in many major economies, economic stimulus meant to revive economic growth became the most common policy tool. After having implemented rescue plans for the banking system, major developed and emerging countries announced plans to relieve their economies.

1:3:1International Monetary Fund (IMF) Recommendation

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated in September 2010 that the financial crisis would not end without a major decrease in unemployment as hundreds of millions of people were unemployed worldwide. The IMF urged governments to expand social safety nets and to generate job creation even as they are under pressure to cut spending. Governments should also invest in skills training for the unemployed and even governments of countries like Greece with major debt risk should first focus on long-term economic recovery by creating jobs.15

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1:3:2 UK Policy Responses

The Federal Reserve, Treasury, and Securities and Exchange Commission took several steps on September 19 to intervene in the crisis. To stop the potential run on money market mutual funds, the Treasury also announced on September 19 a new $50 billion program to insure the investments, similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) program.16 Part of the announcements included temporary exceptions to section 23A and 23B (Regulation W), allowing financial groups to more easily share funds within their group. The exceptions would expire on January 30, 2009, unless extended by the Federal Reserve Board.17 The Securities and Exchange Commission announced termination of short-selling of 799 financial stocks, as well as action against naked short selling, as part of its reaction to the mortgage crisis.18

1:3:3 Actual policy responses by Nigerian government and other institutions

Areas of impact on Nigeria include: reduction in bank lending; reduction in portfolio flows; reduction in remittances from emigrant populations; and reduction in export revenues as demand in rich countries starts to shrink. Until recently, the official response to the crisis was slow and the adopted stand was that of indifference in the country.

The shrinking of demand in richer economies for commodities led to cuts in production levels at the different plants located in developed countries. This meant a reduction in the consumption of fuel, metallic and other primary products. Consequently, the earnings of companies will decline. One key factor for an appropriate policy intervention is a proper understanding of the nature and depth of the crisis as it affects the sources of international capital flows to Nigeria. Furthermore, since no two economies are exactly the same, the model or methods used to intervene in times of financial difficulty will differ from one country to the other. The understanding of the composition and behaviour of the Nigerian economy is paramount in developing short- and long-term policy responses that will be relevant to minimizing the damage of the crisis on the country’s economy.

Some of the policy measures already in place to reduce the problem of the global financial crisis in Nigeria are therefore as follows: i) reduction in the monetary policy rate (MPR) from 10.25% to 9.75%; ii) reduction in the cash reserve requirement (CRR) for banks from 4% to 2%; and iii) cutting the liquidity ratio from 40% to 30%. In addition, the CBN has given a directive to banks that they have the option to restructure the already crystallized margin loans up to 2009; inter-bank lending facilities to banks are expanded and extended up to 360 days. The same goes for discount window facilities, which have been expanded as well.19

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IMF (2009) The Implication of the global financial crisis for low income countries

According to the CBN, these policy adjustments were designed to inject about N150 billion into the system and improve the liquidity in the economy. They are all part of the government’s initiative to forestall any unforeseen development in view of the high degree of uncertainty believed to be emanating from the international financial markets.

1:3:4 Other policy stands, announcements and/or actions

• Presidential Steering Committee on Global Economic Crisis (inaugurated on 16 January 2009);

• Presidential Advisory Team on the Capital Market set up to consider measures to reverse the declining fortunes of the Nigerian capital market;

• Security Exchange Commission SEC), NSE and all capital market operators reduced fees by 50%;

• NSE to review trading rules and regulations;

• 1.0% maximum downward limit on daily price movement and 5.0% on upward movement. This has been harmonized to 5% either way from end-October 2008;

• SEC released guidelines/rules on market makers;

• Strict enforcement of NSE’s listing requirement with zero tolerance for infractions;

• NSE de-listed 19 stagnant companies;

• Rules on share buyback introduced, with a limit of 15.0%. 19

A summary assessment of these rules and regulations suggests an attempt to expand liquidity to counteract the contractionary implications of the global financial crisis on the domestic economy while at same time introducing more regulation and tightening the conditions for operations in the capital market. Whether or not these actions are adequate remains to be seen: we may need to wait a bit more to be able to answer this question.

1:4 THE JUDICIARY SYSTEM IN NIGERIA & THE UK IN RELATION TO CORPORATE AFFAIRS

The justice system is a key function of democratic states. Citizens’ dissatisfaction with the

delivery and management of justice challenges the legitimacy of the state. Better insight into

the drivers of satisfaction and dissatisfaction is crucial to devise reform strategies. When it

comes to studying citizens’ trust in government, the courts (with the police) are often cited as

so-called ‘core functions’ of the state. These institutions serve as a guarantee that all other

processes in government function in a democratic way. We can thus talk about meta-trust:

trust in the police and the courts makes trust in other public institutions possible, because

police and courts provide some guarantee against possible misbehaviour by such other

institutions (Corporate Affairs). 20 Failure by the courts to perform effectively in the eyes of the public may generate distrust, not only in the courts themselves and in their justice, but also in the entire democratic system.

Where confidence and satisfaction are low, citizens will fail to report crimes, and are likely to

be less willing to serve as jurors or act as witnesses.21 Furthermore, attitudes towards courts influence people’s propensity to use courts to try to get redress.22 When the justice system has a bad reputation, there will be greater difficulties in recruiting sufficient competent staff,23 and this may ultimately serve further to undermine the state’s legitimacy especially in corporate corporations.

The justice system’s image in many countries (Nigeria Inclusive) has all too frequently been challenged by numerous scandals. While this has been less the case in the UK, reasons for dissatisfaction with the justice system have been strikingly similar between countries. Yet, there remains considerable disagreement on the nature of the problem. While in the international public discourse there is talk of a deep crisis, some would contend there is just a confidence deficit 24 that can be solved by taking a number of measures.

As conferences, publications, research projects, polls and action plans demonstrate, the issue

of citizen attitudes towards the justice system is very high on the British and international

public agenda. In recent years, we have seen a number of government-related and academic

initiatives to study public opinion towards the justice system.25 The Australian National

University organised a conference in February 2007 on confidence in the courts, and in the UK, confidence in and satisfaction with the justice system has become one of the core areas of attention in government.

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Free judiciary ensures economic security”27. Investment shies away govern and manage justice in the name of the supreme or from economies and countries that do not have an independent state, and is also a method for the resolution of disputes. A judiciary [11]. It is a question of supply and demand. Without strong judicial system enables to magnify and clarify the investment there can be no increase in production and issues against the system of laws and regulations whether opportunities of employment. Without increase in production governmental or private organizations, corporate, institutions capacity, net employment used to decrease and unemployment and company firms go up. The salaries also went down in case of more An organization, or a corporate, has to deal public and the unemployed people competing for the same number of jobs. government parallel, from training educational institutes to The importance of independent judiciary is necessary for textile and power generation, the customers of an organization survival of democracy. No strong and stable parliament could fall in from all fields, as they form a certain cycle of be constructed on the debris or ruins of an independent dependence on each other. A dispute or clash resolution in judicial edifice. An independent judiciary is, in fact, the most interests, social aspects related to and by the industries, significant protection available to parliament. There can be no concerning the welfare of the society, inflation and deflation democracy without law. Without an independent justice control are among the few; all the governing characteristics system democracy remains in jeopardy and eventually are to be monitored by an independent law system where degrades into lawlessness and anarchy. This initiates the justice is favoured only. It is believed that a proper regulation fleeing of investors from a country when there is no proper or of contract and corporate laws and implementation can justify state of administration definitely put strong impact on any such organization, and enables to compete and gleam in the sectors of education, engineering, agriculture and law firms itself.27

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1:4:2 IMPACTS ON ORGANIZATIONS (CORPORATIONS)

A person with high financial stature, strong political background and solid support of class is declared to be on A( Accountability merit). Ignoring the high competitive stature, strong. The first and foremost important impact of a strong judicial educational background and solid support of hard work, our system is Accountability. This statement is generally state structure becomes one big member of the autocracy, considered for political and governmental organizations and as kicking the democracy from the back doors, role of strong a state monitoring action. But as in a role of a judiciary, it is judicial impact on this state of affairs is as they will be liable for it to monitor the entire private sectors also. As in the available forum to raise this issue. So as the rightfully concept of leadership, accountability is the recognition of deserving personals get the place. The bright side of fair merit responsibility for actions, product, decisions, administration, system is that people with high skills and knowledge, in the governance and implementation of proper and rectification of certain field of required expertise, may glorify and gleam the improper ruling principles.29 Compelling the governance of outputs with perceptively productive results. a company or an organization to work properly, on the basis of Mr. Mian Hanif, Advocate High Court, stated with great fair justice with the employees boosts the empowerment factor disappointment that in Islamabad High Court (IHC), the within the organizations and sets a qualitative example of judges were appointed without any criteria. Not a single judge leadership and results in the favor of the organization. Quality was up to the mark or even qualified even so as to understand of production is favored and checked so as the customers’ the basic most concepts of law and judiciary. That laid the requirements are totally fulfilled. Rule of strong judiciary will foundation of wrong decisions which directly affected the hold people accountable going against the legislative organizational structure. It is a favorable gesture for the authorities. Quality of output being the prime concern of the judiciary on the order of Supreme Court, now, to shut it down end-user (rather from the field of education or material), this and all the appointed judges to be deposed. area must be catered for, and accountability is the best solution. Kabraji & Talibuddin, the top corporate law firm of Pakistan, undertakes all forms of Civil and Commercial work. Kairas B. Fraud-Resistance Nader Kabraji and Salman Talibuddin, are both the corporate Fraud is an intentional deceptive action for gaining personal giants of Pakistan. On the order of Chief Justice of Pakistan, advantages on resulting severe harm to the victim. Deceiving Mr. Kabraji has been appointed the new Chief Justice of and dishonesty are prime movers of organizational destruction Baluchistan High Court, and Mr. Talibuddin as Chief Justice in the corporate sector worldwide

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Defence of the standardized to some extent through international organizations under criminal law act on fraud can be achieved, conventions such as the Berne Convention and Universal and judiciary plays a vital role in prosecution of fraudulent. Copyright Convention. These multilateral treaties have been Because once the true picture of employments, assets and ratified by nearly all countries, and international organizations income are brought to surface, the competition enhances, and such as the European Union or World Trade Organization the organization gains the competitive advantage require their member states to comply with them.30 Pakistan is a member of Berne Convention and is included in the list of Merit System for Judges parties to the international copyrights agreement. In all Merit means value, worth and advantage. In our daily countries where the Berne Convention standards apply, communication and interpretation, this word gained the copyright is automatic, and need not be obtained through official registration with any government office once an idea with the state affairs. The private corporal and organizational has been reduced to tangible form, for example by securing it sector has enlightened the view that having a strong and fair in a fixed medium (such as a videotape, or a computer file), judiciary system arises faith and builds up poise and assurance the copyright holder is entitled to enforce his or her exclusive that a firm forum exists to protect and defend the rights and rights. However, while registration isn't needed to exercise law suits to go against even the state (if wrongly accused). A copyright, in jurisdictions where the laws provide for sense of security from fair and strong judiciary basically registration, it serves as prima facie (meaning on its first enhances the organization’s morale and driving forces. appearance) evidence of a valid copyright and enables the copyright holder to seek statutory damages and attorney's fees. G. Organizational Welfare Protection of copyrights is an essential and critical issue. Imagine the pleasure of living in a place, where one knows, Every individual/ firm strives to protect its copyright from any exist accountability and justice for all. Similar is the case for illegal use. In case of any misuse, the owner can seek justice the organizations. When organizational members know that from court. A strong judicial system ensures speedy action they will be liable for any wrong doing, they will avoid against any such illegal act. following the wrong path. This will promote meritocracy, E. Foreign Investment honesty and ethical working practices not only in the organizations, but also in the country as a whole. This tends to Foreign investment plays a key role in the economic stability introduce the quality perspective of organizational of any country. The foreign investor will only invest in a arrangement in Pakistan, where law system prevails, and our country having a conducive environment for business organizations work soothes to brighten effective and conduction, having political stability, facilitates business productive outcomes, activities and operations, and above all, has a strong judicial system.31 A strong and fair judicial system reflects therefore, strong and efficient corporations.

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1:5 EFFECTIVENESS AND LIMITATIONS OF THE JUDICIARY IN BOTH JUSISDICTIONS

1:5:1 Experience and knowledge

A common finding in much of the research is that citizens have only limited knowledge about

their justice system.32 Many people tend to go to the courts with profound misunderstandings about how the system works 33 British research showed that we find these low levels of knowledge across all socio demographic groups.34 Yet, despite the lack of knowledge, citizens seem to be able to express an opinion on most issues. Cynicism about the courts ‘co-exists with extensive public ignorance about crime and sentencing”.35 it is however not clear whether improvements in knowledge will also lead to higher confidence 36. The findings are mixed. Limited knowledge tends to coincide with negative opinions.37 Dissatisfaction with the leniency of sentencing often disappears after the provision of better information 38, and information is sometimes found to lead to more confidence. In the American research, higher knowledge has however also been found to lead to lower confidence in courts in one’s community,39 and has coincided with citizens becoming more critical about the functioning of courts, as the research in France also demonstrated. Overall, the existing research has focused on very diverse aspects of the justice system, making comparison difficult. Knowledge and experience may lead to opinions that are based on facts, but knowledge of facts does not necessarily mean that opinions will become more positive. Factual information also includes information on the justice system’s dysfunctions and inefficiencies.

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1:5:2 Judges and the justice system

While the justice system often suffers from a bad image, the professionals in the system

often receive much better ratings.40 Being a judge is seen as a respectable profession, yet at the same time those holding such office are not always seen as operating in an efficient and modern manner. It can be argued that the image citizens have of judges is a combination of several factors: an authority figure, an executor of the law, a representative of the ruling class. When respect for judges is declining, this can be due to a number of factors: declining respect for authority,41 dissatisfaction with the day-to-day functioning of the courts, or the perception that judges are out of touch.

1:5:2 Evaluations of the justice system vs. evaluations of other institutions

A final observation relates to how evaluations of the justice system are part of broader

evaluations of other (governmental) institutions. High confidence in one institution often

coincides with high confidence in other institutions. The research in France and the

Netherlands, for example, showed that attitudes towards the justice system are strongly

related to attitudes about the state in general. This makes it difficult to consider general

attitudes towards the justice system as really distinct or to know for sure what the available

data really tells us about justice in particular.

1:5:3 Satisfaction, confidence and trust

The most frequently cited causes of dissatisfaction in the review of international research

relate to issues such as the speed and cost of procedures, and the overall efficiency of the

justice system. At the same time, in general, citizens seem mostly satisfied with the fairness

of the justice system; the main reasons for dissatisfaction with fairness, concern perceptions

of a two-track or class-based justice system, and of judges being too out of touch. This

suggests that we need to deal with two sets of attitudes. On the one hand it is useful to

speak about satisfaction when dealing with the administrative or managerial performance of

the justice system. On the other to consider issues of trust or confidence when talking about

value-related issues, such as fairness of the system seems appropriate.

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