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When Should Law Forgive?

September 2020

Martha Minow (Author)


"Martha Minow is a voice of moral clarity: a lawyer arguing for forgiveness, a scholar arguing for evidence, a person arguing for compassion.”—Jill Lepore

A towering and beloved figure in legal scholarship, Martha Minow explores the complicated intersection between law, justice and forgiveness. She asks if law should encourage individuals to forgive. And when the courts, public officials, and specific laws should forgive. With empathy and acumen, Minow acknowledges that there are certainly 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. Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.


"May one be pardoned and retain the offense?‚ (Hamlet)... For what offenses and under what conditions should a just legal system offer forgiveness? This is a legal minefield through which When Should Law Forgive? provides an indispensable guide." — Stephen Greenblatt



140 x 211 mm • 272 pages


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