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Legal Dictionary

fundamental justice

Definition of fundamental justice

Further reading

Fundamental justice is a legal term that signifies a dynamic concept of fairness underlying the administration of justice and its operation, whereas principles of fundamental justice are specific legal principles that command "significant societal consensus" as "fundamental to the way in which the legal system ought fairly to operate." These principles may stipulate basic procedural rights afforded to anyone facing an adjudicative process or procedure that affects fundamental rights and freedoms, and certain substantive standards related to the rule of law that regulate the actions of the state (e.g., the rule against unclear or vague laws). The degree of protection dictated by these standards and procedural rights vary in accordance with the precise context, involving a contextual analysis of the affected person's interests. In other words, the more a person's rights or interests are adversely affected, the more procedural or substantive protections must be afforded to that person in order to respect the principles of fundamental justice. A legislative or administrative framework that respects the principles of fundamental justice, as such, must be fundamentally fair to the person affected, but does not necessarily have to strike the "right balance" between individual and societal interests in general.

The term is used primarily in Canadian and New Zealand law, including in the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Fundamental justice, although closely associated with, is not to be confused with the concepts of due process, natural justice, and Wednesbury unreasonableness.

References:

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



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