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Legal Dictionary
justice
Legal Definition of justice

Noun

  1. Fairness. A state of affairs in which conduct or action is both fair and right, given the circumstances. In law, it more specifically refers to the paramount obligation to ensure that all persons are treated fairly. Litigants "seek justice" by asking for compensation for wrongs committed against them; to right the inequity such that, with the compensation, a wrong has been righted and the balance of "good" or "virtue" over "wrong" or "evil" has been corrected.

Definition of justice

Etymology

    Middle English justice from Old French justise, justice (Modern French justice), from Latin iustitia 'righteousness, equity', from iustus "just", from ius 'right', from Old Latin ious, perhaps literally "sacred formula", a word peculiar to Latin (not general Italic) that originated in the religious cults, from Proto-Indo-European *yewes-. Replaced native Middle English rightwished, rightwisnes "justice" (from Old English rihtwīsnes "justice, righteousness", compare Old English ġerihte "justice").

Pronunciation

Noun

justice (usually uncountable; plural justices)

  1. The state or characteristic of being just or fair.
  2. The ideal of fairness, impartiality, etc., especially with regard to the punishment of wrongdoing.

    Justice was served

  3. Judgment and punishment of a party who has allegedly wronged (an)other(s).

    to demand justice

  4. The civil power dealing with law.

    Ministry of Justice
    the justice system


  5. A judge of certain courts. Also capitalized as a title.

    Mr. Justice Krever presides over the appellate court

  6. Correctness, conforming to reality or rules.

Antonyms

Further reading

Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.

Concept of justice

According to most contemporary theories of justice, it is overwhelmingly important: John Rawls claims that "Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought." Justice can be thought of as distinct from and more fundamental than benevolence, charity, mercy, generosity or compassion. Justice has traditionally been associated with concepts of fate, reincarnation or Divine Providence, i.e. with a life in accordance with the cosmic plan. The association of justice with fairness has thus been historically and culturally rare and is perhaps chiefly a modern innovation [in western societies].

Studies at UCLA in 2008 have indicated that reactions to fairness are "wired" into the brain and that, "Fairness is activating the same part of the brain that responds to food in rats... This is consistent with the notion that being treated fairly satisfies a basic need". Research conducted in 2003 at Emory University, Georgia, USA, involving Capuchin Monkeys demonstrated that other cooperative animals also possess such a sense and that "inequity aversion may not be uniquely human." indicating that ideas of fairness and justice may be instinctual in nature.

Variations of justice

Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism, where punishment is forward-looking. Justified by the ability to achieve future social benefits resulting in crime reduction, the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome.

Retributive justice regulates proportionate response to crime proven by lawful evidence, so that punishment is justly imposed and considered as morally correct and fully deserved. The law of retaliation (lex talionis) is a military theory of retributive justice, which says that reciprocity should be equal to the wrong suffered; "life for life, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."

Restorative justice is concerned not so much with retribution and punishment as with (a) making the victim whole and (b) reintegrating the offender into society. This approach frequently brings an offender and a victim together, so that the offender can better understand the effect his/her offense had on the victim.

Distributive justice is directed at the proper allocation of things - wealth, power, reward, respect - among different people.

Institutions

In a world where people are interconnected but they disagree, institutions are required to instantiate ideals of justice. These institutions may be justified by their approximate instantiation of justice, or they may be deeply unjust when compared with ideal standards - consider the institution of slavery. Justice is an ideal the world fails to live up to, sometimes despite good intentions, sometimes disastrously. The question of institutive justice raises issues of legitimacy, procedure, codification and interpretation, which are considered by legal theorists and by philosophers of law.

Another definition of justice is an independent investigation of truth. In a court room, lawyers, the judge and the jury are supposed to be independently investigating the truth of an alleged crime. In physics, a group of physicists examine data and theoretical concepts to consult on what might be the truth or reality of a phenomenon.

Source: Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


Translation of justice in Malay

Keadilan

Noun

fairness, especially with regard to punishment

  1. Keadilan



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