The Many Concepts of Social Justice in European Private Law
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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.
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Chapter 5: A Rejoinder

Christine Chwaszcza


Christine Chwaszcza I am very grateful to Professor Sadurski, whose generous comments give me an occasion to clarify four points in my defense of the concept of commutative justice. First, the point that I found most interesting in Chapter 2 was the fact that Professor Sadurski indeed argued that the concept of commutative justice either is to be reduced to the concept of distributive justice or is identical with the principle that contracts and promises ought to be kept, which, according to Professor Sadurski, is not a principle of justice at all. Before commenting on his reply, I would like to emphasize that the point that caught my interest was that Professor Sadurski made an argument for his claims, whereas most other legal and political theorists simply seem to assume that the concept of commutative justice is useless – if not nonsense – without even making an attempt to clarify what they mean when they refer to the concept or why they think that it had better be debunked. Being invited as a philosopher to contribute to a conference on European private law, which certainly is a rather technical subject, I was stunned by the frequency with which the concept of social justice is mentioned in articles and documents and by the absence of the concept of commutative justice in the debate. As Professor Jules Coleman put it during the conference, ‘Nobody talks about commutative justice anymore.’ If there is something that the philosopher can and may contribute to debates on European...

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