Britons have long had
a smug sense of superiority when they see some of the silly lawsuits that are
allowed in the United States. Whatever our present inferiority in other
respects, we were always able to reassure ourselves that our legal system was
the best in the world, and that we would never put up with any of the nonsense
we see on L A Law or Boston Legal.
That is no longer
Ridiculous cases have
been sneaking into British courts for some time now. Yet surely a new low has
been reached when an unsuccessful gambler is allowed to issue a writ against
his bookmaker for not stopping him from gambling.
This would be
laughable were it not part of a process that is very dangerous indeed, the slow
undermining of the whole concept of personal responsibility.
The idea that we are
responsible for our actions is, or was, the basis of our legal system. English
Common Law, which is the basis the legal system in the USA and most
Commonwealth nations, proceeds from the assumption that we are free to do
whatever is not expressly forbidden. In return, we are expected to take
responsibility for the consequences of our actions.
Now the assumption of
freedom is being undermined by increasing government regulation while the
obligation of responsibility is simultaneously under attack in cases like this.
perhaps the highest form of gamblers. If we want the freedom to take risks and
keep the rewards when we win, let us at least take responsibility, and not
whine, or try to blame someone else, or sue them, when we lose.