The Golden Rule, or the rule of reciprocity, states that one should treat others as one would wish to be treated. It is an astonishingly widespread maxim, appearing in some form in virtually every major religion and belief system.

As a result, the Golden Rule permeates Australian society, in our courts and parliaments, and our laws and judgments. It is an integral and inalienable part of our social infrastructure. Cambridge professor David Howarth’s recent book, Law as Engineering: Thinking About What Lawyers Do, considers some of the implications of…