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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Comfort Buys


When there is a conflict between your rational mind and your emotional heart, which will you follow? Does a hard either-or-question (ie merits and demerits between two choices are equivalent) necessarily results in a hard answer that is neither here nor there? Or should we simply toss a coin quickly to settle down the excitement in the air?

In a case, the adverse decision impacting on my legally-assisted client was lawful, reasonable, fair and proportional in the special circumstances. I researched and thought broad and deep the possible grounds of appeal, if I was so instructed. For the sake of integrity, excellence and justice, I came up with some not-unarguable arguments.

Apart from administration of justice, I owed a duty to the agency which paid me, and the lay client I acted for. While my rational mind thought the case did not merit any appeal, my heart felt for the client who was unlikely to come up with any arguments without my assistance. The tipping point was the expedient application of the alternative coin theory.

As a lawyer-administrator for decades, I understand very well the values of systemic principles, rules, processes and institutions. Finite resources require not only the structural elements to be economically efficient, but also the rational choices in particular cases. A way to soothe my heart is to do some comfort buys!

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