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Sunday, March 24, 2013


I have received, and really pleased to publish, this research on representations of Lady Justice all around the world that a group of students of the Law and the Humanities 2013 class has just sent me. The paper was attached to the following email:
"We decided to adress further more the issue on Lady justice. This is our group work. Hopefully it will be so interesting for you as it was for us. Our idea was to publish it on the blog, but for the length of the text and for the images, we decided to send it.
However we would like to read it the rest of our classmates.
Good Sunday!
Your students"
I think it should definetly be published (click on read more at the end of this post: there are a lot of pictures and interesting information).



1. Following the artist’s brush; 2. The united stated supreme court’s lady justice; 3.Lady justice statue on the central criminal court of England, London (called old bailey); 4. The fountain of justice, Gerechtigkietsbrunnen; 5. Lady justice fountains in Germany: Nuremberg & Frankfurt; 6. Brasilia: the flowing lady; 7. Australia: court of Brisbane & Victorian court; 8. The lady justice in France: lady legal code; 9. The lady justice in Japan: the titan lady; 10. Ottawa: the lady with two-edged sword; 11. Lady justice in Czech; republic: the power of law; 12. Concluding with the Italian justice experience
Federica Aller

Gianluca Brocco

Diana Cecconi

Nicola Cicchelli

Ylenia Coronas

Roberta Di Lorenzo

Marika Marcantonio

Edoardo Merlini

Diana Oro Nobili
Francesco Renda
Lady Justice is a symbol that represents Justice as a divine concern. Since the ancient Greece period, justice is considered not a simple value, but a supreme governing principle of human society. In fact Dike was one of the three Horai, mythical and divine personification of the seasons by the Greeks. The Horai had the function to subtract the human becoming arbitrariness and disorder. The concept of order refer the names of three Horai: Dike (justice); Eunomia (good governance); Irene (peace). They were daughters of Zeus and Themis. The Romans became 12, as the division of the day. Dike is the justice of the State, which was called Iustitia by the Latins. But the Roman Iustitia is different from the Greek Themis. She’s also a goddess of justice, but justice of single man: the sense of justice in each of us (Inside Justice). Similar to Iustitia is instead Dike, also called Astrea. About this there is a source in Le Opere e I Giorni, written by Esiodo, a Greek ancient poet lived during the VIII-VII centuries. He says that there was a gold ilk before. Men lived as the gods: they didn’t know the old age, but they remained intent on banquets and parties. When was the time to die, they gently feel asleep. People did not have to work and the goods belong to all spontaneously. So talked about Golden Age: this was the reign of justice and peace. But with the following Reign of Zeus, also called the Iron Age, disappeared this breed. Then the men were prey of emptiness: Victa iacet pietas, et Virgo caede madentes, ultima caelestum, terras Astraea reliquit (Won lies the pity, and the Virgin Astrea leale the last of the land drenched in blood), Ovidio, Metamorfosi, I, vv. 149-150. So the crimes of humanity did escape Iustitia and forced to leave the Land, refuges herself in the sky, where she became the constellation Virgo. And Astrea is, in fact, the name of Virgo constellation. Also Virgilio talk about Astrea as a virgin, in his fourth eclogue of the Bucoliche: (vv. 5.7): magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo. Iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna; iam nova progenies caelo demittitur ab alto (Already the Virgins returns, the reign of Saturn returns; already the new progeny descends from heaven).

This is the mythological origin of Lady Justice, but she has been represented in different ways in the various countries.
Looking for the description and the definition of “Lady Justice” we have faced its Wikipedia page with several pictures and images of the Lady Justice’s statues from all over the world.
So we thought that it could be interesting and stimulating with our classmates to do a sort of little comparison between these peculiar and evocative sculptures.  The personification of justice has had great importance in painting too.

There were many artists who, through allegories, personified justice in a woman; among the most important we can certainly remember Luca Giordano (1634-1705).
In his painting, the allegory of Justice, which now is part of the collection Denis Mahon, there is a woman representing the justice (one of the four cardinal virtues).
The woman holding the scales and the sword, which are its attributes; she is supported by an ostrich.
To the right are the Punishment, with a sword pointing down, and the Reward. In the left corner there is the Deception with a mask, handing a branch of flowers with a poisonous snake hidden, and behind there is a net to catch the unwary. On the right there are the Discord and the Conflict.
Very interesting are the figures flying, representing the effects of justice: the Clemency (with shield and spear), the Fame and the Security (holding an anchor and has a nest on the head, which should mean that children can be raised in safety).
Important is the fact that the figure of clemency brakes with the shield the sword of Justice.
Another work is The Justice of Raffaello (1483 - 1520).
On a background with an artificial mosaic is represented the personification of the Justice, sitting on a throne of clouds, which raised arm to wield the sword and the scale. There are four children who are holding tables with inscriptions: in one of this we can read a citation of Justinian: IUS SUUM UNICUIQUE TRIBUIT.

First of all is useful to situate in time the Supreme Court Building’s project and its construction, so we can figure out the historical and political scenario where this building was born and has metaphorically grown up.
The U.S Supreme Court was built in 1935, it is situated in Washington D.C.
Yet surprisingly, despite its role as a coequal branch of government, the Supreme Court was not provided with a building of its own until 1935, the 146th year of its existence.
It was Chief Justice William Howard Taft, who had been President of the United States from 1909 to 1913, who authorized the construction of a standing and permanent home for the Court.
And for that reason Architect Cass Gilbert was chosen and then charged by Chief Justice Taft to design "a building of dignity and importance suitable for its use as the permanent home of the Supreme Court of the United States”.
Skipping a building’s accurate description I would like to focus on symbols and iconography especially, as I’ve just said ,the peculiar Lady Justice’s representation.
The main entrance to the Supreme Court Building is on the west side, facing the United States Capitol.
On the side of the main steps are seated marble figures. These large statues are the work of sculptor James Earle Fraser. On the right is a male figure, the Guardian or Authority of Law.
On the left of the Supreme Court building stairs is the "Contemplation of Justice", a sculpture crated by James Earle Fraser, which represents the duties of the Supreme Court.
Fraser described his "Contemplation of Justice" as "a realistic conception of what I consider a heroic type of person with a head and body expressive of the beauty and intelligence of justice."

While developing his design, Fraser wrote to the Architect Gilbert, “I think...the figures must have a meaning, and not be perfunctory and purely decorative, and after seeing the grandeur and simplicity of the Supreme Court room, I feel more than ever that the figures in front of it should symbolize that feeling and be a prelude to the spirit of the building”.

The statue portrays a seated woman holding a book of laws with her left arm and a figure of blindfolded Justice is in her right hand.

Most people sustain that the personification of Justice comes from the Greek Goddess Dike. But in this case I’ve found out that there is a specific repeal both to Themis (the Greek goddess of justice and law) and Justicia (one of the four Roman virtues depicted in the form of a woman). The representation of Justice symbolizes the fairness and equality of law, and wears a blindfold as an expression of impartiality and objectivity.
I have never seen such a representation of Lady Justice before.
This lady is seated and is starring toward the city centre of Washington as, in my opinion, a symbol of an omniscient eye; I think that she doesn’t depict the Justice herself but she represent a “reflection” on Justice in a sort of a meditative and careful way.

As I have already roughing out a few lines before this female statue is holding both symbols of Law and Justice: under her left arm there is a book (standing for “Erudition” and maybe even for the legal “Knowledge”) and in her right hand there is sculptured maybe the real Lady Justice symbol (as we know it).
Indeed this minor female figure grabbed by the seated lady is only a part of the “Contemplation of Justice” statue; she is blindfold (maybe as a symbol of an objective implementation of Justice) and she is holding the two very easy to recognize badges : the scale (representing the Justice’s unceasing research for balance and fairness) and the sword (symbolizing Power and Strength).

I do think that this great statue is an evocative, very powerful and meaningful model of Lady Justice; it contains not only the very well-known icons of the Justice but it contemplates the whole idea of Justice both with legal knowledge and its potential and the equal-oriented application.
On the dome above the court stands a bronze statue of Lady Justice, executed by British sculptor F.W.Pomeroy. She holds a sword in her right hand and the scales of justice in her left.

The statue is popularly supposed to show blind Justice; however, the figure is not blindfolded: the reason is because Lady Justice was originally not blindfolded and because her "maidenly form" is supposed to guarantee her impartiality which renders the blindfold redundant.

It was made by Hans Gieng's; the statue is a copy of the original which was destroyed by vandals in 1986.
The statue on the pillar is Iustitia (Lady Justice),the personification of justice. She is portrayed standing in gracious counterpoise holding her traditional attributes: 1) sword of justice in her right hand;2) a balance in her left hand;3) a blindfold over her eyes.
Her costume is fashioned in an antique manner, with sandaled feet, one knee bared, wearing a decorative golden suit of armour adorned with bas-relief arabesque over her blue robes.
At the feet of justice four smaller busts crowd the pedestal.

-a Pope(theocracy)
-an Emperor(the monarchy)
-a Sultan(autocracy)
-a Schultheiss(the republic); the 4 forms of government.

SYMBOLISM: the ensemble represents the supremacy of Justice over all Earthly authorities; a variant of the medieval pictorial formula of virtue defeating vice. There was a contemporary  belief in the divine nature of Justice.
While the sword and scales are traditional attributes of Iustitia, the blindfold statue is a novelty; only later it becomes a common element in personification of Justice and a general symbol for the principle of equality before the law. The blindfold implies that justice ought to be done without respect to rank or standing; that a just verdict is arrived at through introspection rather than with a view to outward looks.

Germany is rich of Lady Justice statues. I want to analyze two of them: the one settled in the city of Nuremberg and the one settled in Frankfurt.
Both have the peculiarity of being placed on the top of a fountain.
The first one is called Tugendbrunnen (fountain of virtues). This iron fountain was placed in 1584 and completed in 1589 by Benedikt Wurzelbawer.
It’s divided in three horizontal bands. In the first one there are allegories of six virtues, three religious and three non religious: faith, love, hope, courage, moderation and patience. In the second band there are cherubs carrying the two city coats of arms. On the top of the fountain is placed the highest virtue, justice. As usual, it is blind with the sword in the right hand and the scales in the other one.


It’s divided in three horizontal bands. In the first one there are allegories of six virtues, three religious and three non religious: faith, love, hope, courage, moderation and patience. In the second band there are cherubs carrying the two city coats of arms. On the top of the fountain is placed the highest virtue, justice. As usual, it is blind with the sword in the right hand and the scales in the other one.
The other fountain, which is placed in Romer square in Frankfurt, was erected in 1611 in sandstone. Romer is considered one of the most beautiful city square and it became very important in middle age when it was used for king’s coronation. On those occasions, in order to celebrate the new king, red wine gushed from the fountain.
According to traditional iconography, also this statue represents Lady Justice. The goddess has the sword (respect of the law) and the scales (impartiality).  Although Lady Justice is usually blind (incorruptibility),
Frankfurt statue is not.

The lady of Brasilia justice is one of the most special lady. It was created in 1961 by Oscar Niemeyer, one of the most important architects of the twentieth century, who often loved to create sculpture. The special feature of this statue is that it has flowing lines and it looks like unfinished. In fact, it is one of the symbols of Niemeyer’s style.

The message that you can catch, watching  blindfolded, is that the law is the same for all without distinction.

In Australia, the judicial system is different from ours. instead has more in common with the judicial system of the United States. In fact, the Supreme Court of Brisbane is responsible only for the state of Queensland.

The lady justice Brisbane situated in the building of the supreme court of Queensland represents the "Themis", the "Greek goddess of justice". This statue is very recent because the construction of the building began in 2008 and completed in 2012. This statue has no special, as being a faithful reproduction of Themis, has all the symbols of justice. The most important elements are of course the sword, a symbol of strength, and balance, the symbol of fairness. The statue is in an upright position, with a long dress that gives us all her femininity, for some historians it is the reproduction of both the goddess Justice and the goddess Themis  who was one of the Titans, and symbolized the imposition of order.
Particular thing to remember is what happens in June of 2011, when you scream scandal when it was realized that the statue was no longer in his left hand the balance and you thought it was a sign of loss of equity in the district of Queensland, but reality then it turned out that was removed only for cleaning purposes.
But we have a modern form of the Lady Justice in the main entrance of Victorian County Court (court of competent jurisdiction in the state of Victoria).
The statue was created in 2002, is 6 meters high, the material used is aluminum, and the author is William Eicholtz.
Representation is detailed and conjures up an image of the relief of ancient Greek statues.
The lady of justice is seen as a strong female figure, mature and adorned with lavish garments. Equal of the body not covered by clothing did not have any details, nor 'age, nor race.
Holding a sword pate, a sign of strength, vigor, and in the other hand is a sign of the balance equity, objectivity; the eyes are blindfolded as not to favor any given that the law is equal for all.
In front of his face are placed 5 stars, also present in the Australian flag, representing the Southern Cross constellation visible southern hemisphere and southern hemisphere in the night sky, and the meaning that gives us the statue is precisely that of a control on the same side of justice were part of the Australian nation.
The main entrance of the Assemblée Nationale is situated square of the Palais Bourbon. In its centre, a statue representing the Law, sculptured by Feuchère and set up in 1855. It holds in the right hand a sceptre with the hand of the justice, and in the left hand the tables of the Law.
Now, we can clearly see a difference: in the right hand, or the hand of justice pulls no sword but a sceptre, and in his left hand does not have a scale but the tables of the law, it is also not blindfolded.
This sculpture was created about 50'anni after the napoleon code, code that is also based on the right of the Franco-German tradition, characteristic of northern France, the triumph of reason legal mould Enlightenment able to infuse the natural law and customary codes, shaping the principles, smoky and generic, the previous law. The artist, in my opinion, I think we both wanted to "detach" from the "classical" model of Lady Justice.

Amazing, in Japan, we find Themis.
Temi (or Themis) is a figure from Greek mythology. For Esiodo she was a Titanide, daughter of Uranus and Gaea, and was one of the wives of Zeus.
The meaning of the name Theme is "adamant" and perhaps that is why this mythological figure was considered not so much a goddess as the personification of order, justice and rights, so that they used to rely on it when someone had to pay an oath.
Dante Alighieri mentions the goddess in purgatory in the famous canto XXXIII, where it is cited for its nebula prophesy.  She is called the goddess of Justice, but Justice of the individual, justice and the sense of what is right inherent in all of us. The interior justice. The moral law or nature.
The sculpture of Themis is depicted with a sword in his right hand and a pair of scales in his left hand. Particular is the fact that even she is blindfolded.

The entrance to the Supreme Court of Canada, building in Ottawa, is flanked by two huge statues, Justitia and Veritas (Truth). Both was built by Walter Seymour Allward.

After they were commissioned in 1912,the plaster forms for the statues mysteriously disappeared, only to be found in 1969 in crates in a Ottawa parking lot. Then, they were cast in bronze the next year.
The statue of Justitia is portrayed as a woman holding a two-edged sword. She wears a long coat with hood, where she hides the sword, but she does not wear the traditional blindfold. Some have interpreted this to mean that the nine Supreme Court Justices of the highest court of the land, must clearly see the consequences of their decision, and must communicate them to the Canadian public.
In the end, among all the lady, it seems to be more “cruel” because it is very similar to the death.

Lady Justice is a symbolic figure that represents the justice.
This sculpture is located in front of the Supreme courts of all the world.
In particular, I want to analyze the lady Justice of Olomouc in Czech Republic.
the statue was made by sculptor J. L. Urban. The building in Olomouc is called the Palace of Justice.
The Goddess is sitting (in my opinion this is a clear message of supremacy and serenity), she has a sword in the right hand and a book in the left that symbolize the strength and the knowledge of justice. I think that's the best way to join architecture and law, because it arrives immediately to common people.
Has become a custom to say that the Italian justice system is inefficient.
This is true, the processes are long and justice is slow; but it would be incorrect to carry out a critical, without looking at the issue as a whole.
We must remember first of all that a huge amount of work is done by the Italian courts.
The Italian courts over the last three decades has been deeply involved in a triple judicial action of vast dimensions: terrorism, against the Mafia and other organized crime, and corruption: this has undoubtedly slowed the action and timing of the judiciary.
Italian judges have done their work at the cost of personal sacrifices (some even paid with their lives) in defence of law and the constitutional.
In the report read at the inauguration of the judicial year by the Procurator General of the Supreme Court in January 2003, he begins by stating that ours is "«una giustizia spesso troppo lenta, che si svolge secondo riti e regole tecniche che sfuggono alla comprensione dei più, con esiti spesso imprevisti, che inducono perciò taluni ad utilizzarla in modo pretestuoso, o con finalità dilatorie, e perciò ingiuste».
Justice has too many laws and too many processes.
Civil cases come to a decision in ten years, criminal cases in seven.
Maybe, a solution for civil cases, could be:

- reduce conflict civil.
- recourse to alternative models of dispute resolution (for example, conciliation proceedings out of court, that there is in Italy, but it is not used).
- need to recover a sense of justice on the part of everyone (citizens and judicial).

At the time of the Roman law of the situation was different. The process worked, perhaps (but this is my personal point of view), partly because the morality of society was different.
Should be that the judges were to make use of their powers to sanction conducted unfairly or unreasonably in the parties and their defenders (for example, take this into account in order for costs of the proceedings), and thus discourage unnecessary litigation.





  1. Wow! This is a very interesting read, thank you to my classmates for publishing this information! I especially found it interesting that the Lady of Justice depicted in France holds a scepter, rather than a sword like the rest of the Lady Justice portrayals. This is an intentional stray from the typical Lady Justice image, and caused me to wonder why this was done so. Similarly to a sword, a scepter seems to symbolize strength and power, but it differs as I believe it is less of a harsh and definitive sense of power as the symbol of a sword implies. Scepters also seem to allude to some sort of royalty as the form of power, rather than the idea of power by force, that the warrior-like sword signifies. These differences in symbolism lead me to conclude that the architect who designed France's lady justice was attempting to portray her as a strong figure, but in a non-threatening way, as less of a warning to the people of what will happen if they breech the codes of Justice, but more of a reminder that Justice will always prevail as the ultimate royalty, or ruler, in France.

  2. Justice as a female figure is a really modern concept; it is interesting to read about its representations in different places. In Luca Giordano’s he embodies this concept and places her in the center of the painting, highlighting its importance as an important cardinal virtue. Also, seeing it first hand, the lady of justice in the Supreme Court in the US is hard to miss! It also identifies a woman’s importance in a historically male-dominated society. Looking at these different figures of lady justice can show something about the various places they are in—which can also be said about laws of each society as well.

    Maya Shair

  3. Maybe I missed it, but why is it always a women? I am doing a project about it, and I'd really like to know. Thank you :)

  4. As i understand, Mr Justice was the head of the early Roman weights and measures department, whose job it was to weigh the gold coins in the market place, for without sound money, without a fair means of exchange, there would be no peace, no society, no civil-isation - ie no justice.
    Lady Justice and all the various iconic statues including the use of a woman, are simply that 'icons' ie architypes
    I would be grateful to hear if this is wrong

  5. Very nice blog ant great pictures. Thanks for writing. Keep updating.Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers is a specialist criminal law firm practising in the areas of criminal law and traffic law.
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  6. My opinion of the origin of Lady Justice is in goddess Ma'at in Egypt.
    She appears with scales and Anubis to weigh the heart of the deceased. Results are written by Troth the scribe and given to Osiris for judgement.

  7. My opinion of the origin of Lady Justice is in goddess Ma'at in Egypt.
    She appears with scales and Anubis to weigh the heart of the deceased. Results are written by Troth the scribe and given to Osiris for judgement.

  8. My opinion of the origin of Lady Justice is in goddess Ma'at in Egypt.
    She appears with scales and Anubis to weigh the heart of the deceased. Results are written by Troth the scribe and given to Osiris for judgement.