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When Should Law Forgive?


Martha Minow (Author)

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What can forgiveness achieve in this age of resentment?

A towering and beloved figure in legal scholarship, Martha Minow explores the complicated intersection between law, justice and forgiveness, asking whether law should encourage individuals to forgive and when the courts, public officials and specific laws should forgive.

Examining these questions through sometimes troubling cases with compassion and acumen, Minow acknowledges that there are grounds for both individuals and societies to withhold forgiveness but argues that there are also many places where letting go of justified grievances can make law more just, not less. This type of lawful forgiveness might also nudge individuals and societies towards the respect and generosity that comes with apology and restitution. Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.