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Procedural Justice
Procedural justice describes how the law is made and applied. The concern is with the manner in which decisions are reached, not the content of them.
JOHN RAWLS distinguished 3 ideas of procedural justice:
  1. Perfect procedural justice – procedure that guarantees a fair outcome will be achieved
  2. Imperfect procedural justice – same goal as perfect, but no guarantee
  3. Pure – no criteria for good outcome, just the procedure itself
Substantive Justice
Is the law itself just? The actual content of the law must be judged in the principle of substantive or concrete justice.
PATRICK DEVLINlaw should enforce morality. There are consensus and non-consensus laws, the latter of which could bring the judiciary and the legal process into disrepute.
  • Both seek to uphold justice and produce just outcomes
  • Failure to abide either will incur punishment – you’ve either broken the law or failed to abide by the right procedure
  • In a lot of cases, the two must come together if there is prior knowledge of what is just. The justice of the procedure is assessed by their ability to achieve that outcome
  • Conservatives may argue that humans are imperfect and cannot determine what is just
  • MICHAEL OAKESHOTTworld is boundless and bottomless
  • Substantive is less likely to manipulated for immoral ends
  • Whereas procedural justice can accept where is it flawed, it is harder for believers of substantive justice to accept flaws – procedures easy to appeal
  • They have different origins – substantive derives from prior principle and is thus open to controversy


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