Edited by Hans-W. Micklitz
Chapter 12: Meaning(s) of Social Justice in Nordic Countries
12. Meaning(s) of social justice in Nordic countries Pia Letto-Vanamo 1 INTRODUCTION1 One of the most fundamental topics of legal research is justice, especially the relationship between law (in German: Recht) and justice (Gerechtigkeit). Legal philosophers generally ask what is ‘just’, while the most relevant question of legal history is the question about the changing meaning of justice: how justice has been understood, and how that understanding has been realized at different times. In particular, the history of legal sources – doctrines of legal sources2 and ideas about the legitimacy of law (legal order) – has been the focus of study. The relationship between law and justice is also discussed when studies on current law are concerned.3 One reason for today’s debates is European integration: EU law as well as the competence of the European Court of Human Rights have questioned the foundations of national state doctrines of legal sources and current legal argumentation as well. In addition, ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has brought into arenas of law discussions of values as well as weighing between different values – generally expressed in different rights of individuals.4 1 This chapter has been written as part of research done at the Centre of Excellence for Foundations of European Law and Polity Research at the University of Helsinki. 2 See for instance Schröder, J. (2001), Recht als Wissenschaft: Geschichte der juristischen Methode vom Humanismus bis zur historischen Schule (1500–1850), Munich: C.H. Beck. 3 See for instance Sen, A....
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