The jurisprudential definition of justice is primarily having a basis
in fact and regulations that generate an impartial result.
Anglo-American jurisprudence has further developed the concept of
equity to handle circumstances where standard rules, "applied in a
blind or narrowly rigid fashion, would produce a result of violates
our sense of justice in another of its meanings -- that a just result
is a good one." The Western jurisprudential definition of justice
therefore includes both process and result.
Another definition of justice is related to social and economic
concerns. Rawls bases his concept of justice on "equality in the
assignment of rights and duties," and "... social and economic
inequalities are just only if they result in compensating benefits for
everyone, and in particular for the least advantaged members of
Additional social concerns arise regarding environmental justice.
Studies have shown that hazardous waste dumps and other undesirable
facilities are typically located in low income and minority
communities, resulting in "a disproportionate burden on people of
color and the poor."
"Social Equity in Planning" by Elizabeth Deakin Berkeley Planning
Journal Volume 13 http://www-dcrp.ced.berkeley.edu/bpj/pdf/13-Deakin.html
In the "Republic," Plato puts forth a definition of justice connected
with a sense of harmony both within oneself and in one's relationships
to others. This is in contrast to a definition of justice based on
"...the issuance and observance of positive (enacted) laws...."
Another definition of justice that appears in the Republic, which
Socrates attempts to refute, is that justice is "the advantage of the
stronger." Socrates presents the argument that "...justice seeks the
good of the one served rather than the advantage of the stronger."
"September 16 -- Plato II" by Professor William R. Long
Religions typically provide definitions of justice. Christianity
promulgates both a commutative definition of justice and a
distributive definition of justice in Scripture. Commutative justice
means that as one person meets another person's needs, that person
will reciprocate. Distributive justice refers to following commands
given by someone in authority.
"For public order is founded upon moral order, and moral order arises
"The sanction for justice will be found, ultimately, in religious
insights as to the human condition... somewhere there must exist in
authority for beliefs about justice; and the authority of merely
human, and therefore fallible, courts of law is insufficient to
command popular assent and obedience."
However, it is important to note that "not all sins are crimes.... But
mundane courts of law do not touch the sinner unless his sins result
in violence or fraud or substantial damage to others. The state is
unconcerned with sins unless they lead to breaches of the peace, or
menace the social order." As a result, it is possible to be immoral
or unethical without breaking the law and being subjected to the
criminal justice system.
"The Meaning of Justice" by Russell Kirk, Heritage Lecture #457, The
Heritage Foundation (March 4, 1993)
I particularly recommend this last article to you in its entirety as a
comprehensive discussion of the subject.
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definition of justice