Is justice about order?

The maxims are first, that the individual is not accountable to society for his actions, in so far as these concern the interests of no person but himself

   --  Stuart Mill

Trade is justice

The principle of trade is the only rational ethical principle for all human relationships, personal or social, private and public, spiritual and material. It is the principle of justice.

   --  Ayn Rand

Government above the law

“A private citizen who resorts to physical force and violates the rights of others is a criminal- and men have legal protection against him. A government is more dangerous, it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims when unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights.”

   --  Ayn Rand

Michael Sandel 


Justice lecture

  • Habeas corpus (the principle that the state cannot hold citizens without charge and due legal process) 
  • trial by jury (the principle that in legal actions defendants' guilt or innocence is to be determined by fellow citizens, and not by the state and its functionaries).
  • Common law (under which the law grows by judge-made precedent, flexibly and pragmatically, without government intervention and often without appeal to statute of any kind),
  • Separation of the powers and the independence of the judiciary from the executive,
  • equality before the law (where that equality applies to everyone, including the highest officers of the state),
  • double jeopardy (defendant cannot be charged twice for the same offence) and the presumption of innocence, and
  • an adversarial system of court procedure (in which two sides present a case and seek the court's judgement) instead of an inquisitorial (in which an official prosecutor, an agent of the state, tries to establish guilt or innocence by questioning).
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that most European nations do not have the same legal and constitutional institutions and traditions as those found in the English-speaking world, and they also have sorry histories of instability, dictatorship and authoritarianism. 


Subpages (4): Equality Law Morality Rights