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From The Nature of the Judicial Process by Eduardo J Couture.

‘Those who have been able to see this fact in historical perspective and have noted its slow but steady growth, have realized that the law has proceeded in this direction from necessity, not from expediency.

Primitive man’s reaction to injustice appears in the form of vengeance, and by “primitive” I mean not only primitive in a historical sense, but also primitive in the formation of moral sentiments and impulses.

The first impulse of a rudimentary soul is to do justice by his own hand. Only at the cost of mighty historical efforts has it been possible to supplant in the human soul the idea of self-obtained justice by the idea of justice entrusted to authorities.

A civil action…is civilization’s substitute for vengeance. In its present form, this civilized substitute for vengeance consists in a legal power to resort to the court praying for something against a defendant.

Whether the claim is well founded or not, is a totally different, and indifferent, fact.

During the litigation, as we have already said, uncertainty reigns. The uncertainty ends only with the decision. If the decision declares that the plaintiff is not in the right, that the complaint is without foundation, matters revert to their prior status; but the drama has been played out.

A suit carries with it a burden of sacrifice (I am tempted to say, of sorrow) that no judgment can remedy.’

From p.7 of this article which can be found at Tulane Law Review Volume 25 p.1-28. You can find this article via Heinonline.

[Edited for ease of reading.]

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