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The Many Concepts of Social Justice in European Private Law

The Many Concepts of Social Justice in European Private Law

Edited by Hans-W. Micklitz

This insightful book, with contributions from leading international scholars, examines the European model of social justice in private law that has developed over the 20th century.

Chapter 4: Commutative, Distributive and Procedural Justice: A Response to Professor Christine Chwaszcza

Wojciech Sadurski

Subjects: law - academic, european law, private international law


Wojciech Sadurski 1 INTRODUCTION Anyone writing about justice must not only grapple with the complexities and difficulties raised by different conceptions of justice, and weigh arguments for and against competing conceptions, but also assert and uphold a stance as to the very concept of justice – that is, as to the demarcation of the sphere of consideration where the words ‘just’ or ‘unjust’ are relevant.1 Undoubtedly, the first type of argument is more exciting and has more practical relevance, but without some plausible position as to the latter type of considerations – which are meant to respond to the question ‘What is justice about?’ rather than ‘What is required by justice?’ – not only are debates on the conceptions of justice carried out in a conceptual vacuum, but discussants engaged in such debates risk furthermore to be simply talking at cross-purposes. This is because much – perhaps all – of their disagreement may stem from the fact that they have drawn different demarcation lines between ‘justice’ and other social ideals and virtues, rather than from the fact that they have different substantive views about what is required by justice. It is a commonplace in a theory of justice that we need to distinguish between a very broad – and therefore rather unhelpful – notion of ‘justice’ which encompasses the totality of good social arrangements, norms or virtues (depending on the object to which the property of ‘justice’ can be attributed) and a narrower notion, whereby ‘justice’ is not about all good things which can be...

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