This is Lady Justice, or in short, Justice. An icon for judicial system that is and should be executed without fear or favour.
The first time I took notice of this iconic figure was when I watched the movie "Judge Dredd", a story of a futuristic hero named Joseph Dredd, a Judge, convicted of a murder he did not commit, and sent to the deserted "Cursed World" outside populated megacities. In a scene in "Cursed World", a statue of Justice was shown in a deserted building which I presume used to be a courthouse. Chief Justice Fargo was telling Judge Dredd that the new judiciary system comprising of judges had robbed her of the role of justice.
Chief Justice Fargo: The blind lady.
Judge Dredd: Who is she, sir?
Chief Justice Fargo: Justice before your time. We should never have taken justice out of her hands.
Judge Dredd: You put order to chaos, sir.
Chief Justice Fargo: Yes, we solved many problems, but created many more.
I won't explain more about the movie. Get yourself a DVD or go here to find out more.
Next is the Hong Kong TVB Drama "File of Justice (壹號皇庭)", where, in the opening titles of each episode, the iconic Lady Justice standing above the Hong Kong Supreme Court building is shown.
Much recently, I found out that, the original statue of Lady Justice was not blindfolded. In order to portray justice being impartial and applies to everyone, a blindfold was added - to show that Justice sees no color, language, religion, nor party (this word is open for interpretation). More info could be found in Wikipedia.
Without Fear or Favour. I still remember this phrase being the motto of the Prefects Board in my old school ACS Ipoh. A phrase that we stood for, and I hope the ACS Prefects now still stands for. I remembered clearly that, despite reluctance, I had to reprimand a student who was then our famous national swimmer (yet a humble boy indeed - he forgot about his name tag and left it in his school bag). That's one of the without-fear-or-favour in action.
Looking at our not-so-far-away land, I am extremely disappointed at what had already happened. It seems that in the current political situation in our country, I cannot fit in the words "without fear or favour" anywhere anymore. Isn't that sad???
I believed in the law - but it is written on stones, and is dead. Alas, now I even doubt I can believe in man who can ever "uphold" it here.