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The proper administration of the law; the fair and equitable treatment of all individuals under the law. A title given to certain judges, such as federal and state supreme court judges.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. 1) fairness. 2) moral rightness. 3) a scheme or system of law in which every person receives his/her/its due from the system, including all rights, both natural and legal. One problem is that attorneys, judges, and legislatures often get caught up more in procedure than in achieving justice for all. Example: the adage "justice delayed is justice denied," applies to the burdensome procedures, lack of sufficient courts, clogging the system with meritless cases, and the use of the courts to settle matters which could be resolved by negotiation. The imbalance between court privileges obtained by attorneys for the wealthy and for the person of modest means, the use of delay and "blizzards" of unnecessary paper by large law firms, and judges who fail to cut through the underbrush of procedure all erode justice. 4) an appellate judge, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the U. S. Supreme Court, a member of a Federal Court of Appeal, and judges of any of the various state appellate courts.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

JUSTICE. The constant and perpetual disposition to render every man his due. Just. Inst. B. 1, tit. 1. Toullier defines it to be the conformity of our actions and our will to the law. Dr. Civ. Fr. tit. prel. n. 5. In the most extensive sense of the word, it differs little from virtue, for it includes within itself the whole circle of virtues. Yet the common distinction between them is that that which considered positively and in itself, is called virtue, when considered relatively and with respect to others, has the name of justice. But justice being in itself a part of virtue, is confined to things simply good or evil, and consists in a man's taking such a proportion of them as he ought.
     2. Justice is either distributive or commutative. Distributive justice is that virtue whose object is to distribute rewards and punishments to each one according to his merits, observing a just proportion by comparing one person or fact with another, so that neither equal persons have unequal things, nor unequal persons things equal. Tr. of Eq. 3, and Toullier's learned note, Dr. Civ. Fr. tit. prel. n. 7, note.
     3. Commutative justice is that virtue whose object it is to render to every one what belongs to him, as nearly as may be, or that which governs contracts. To render commutative justice, the judge must make an equality between the parties, that no one may be a gainer by another's loss. Tr. Eq. 3.
     4. Toullier exposes the want of utility and exactness in this division of distributive and commutative justice, adopted in the compendium or abridgments of the ancient doctors, and prefers the division of internal and external justice; the first being a conformity of our will, and the latter a conformity of our actions to the law: their union making perfect justice. Exterior justice is the object of jurisprudence; interior justice is the object of morality. Dr. Civ. Fr. tit. prel. n. 6 et 7.
     5. According to the Frederician code, part 1, book 1, tit. 2, s. 27, justice consists simply in letting every one enjoy the rights which he has acquired in virtue of the laws. And as this definition includes all the other rules of right, there is properly but one single general rule of right, namely, Give every one his own. See, generally, Puffend. Law of Nature and Nations, B. 1, c. 7, s. 89; Elementorum Jurisprudentiae Universalis, lib. 1, definito, 17, 3, 1; Geo. Lib. 2, c. 11, s. 3; Ld. Bac. Read. Stat. Uses, 306; Treatise of Equity, B. 1, c. 1, s. 1.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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