Does natural justice exist?

How does natural justice unfold?

  • 2
    Natural justice ? Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 12:52
  • 3
    Natural law ? Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 12:52
  • The concept of justice presupposes the capacity of judgment, thus it originates in the Supreme Judge. Kant made the following observation: "The idea of freedom leads, through the categorical imperative, to God."
    – user3017
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 12:55
  • Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce's "Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals" which may be relevant unless I misunderstood "natural justice". Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 12:59
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma
    – user2201
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 13:43

4 Answers 4


Natural justice is technical terminology for the rule against bias (nemo iudex in causa sua) and the right to a fair hearing (audi alteram partem).

Yes, natural justice is used in practice when setting the framework for almost all modern laws, which would by extension indirectly force the overseeing judge or legal power in any legal matter to follow this “duty to act fairly”. Most simply because the framework they follow most often was built on top of this idea.


Some food for thought here:

Heidegger, Off the Beaten Track (pages 184 & 185)

Nietzsche, in an early and more widely known piece (the second untimely observation, "On the Use and Disadvantage of History for Life"), already replaced the objectivity of historical knowledge with "justice" (section 6). But otherwise he was silent on the topic. Not until the decisive years 1884-85, when the "will to power" stood before his thoughtful eye as the fundamental trait of beings, did he write down two thoughts about "justice," without publishing them.

The first note (1884) is entitled "The Ways of Freedom." It runs: “Justice as the manner of thinking which builds, eliminates, annihilates out of value-estimation; the highest representative of life itself" (Werke, vol. XIII, "Nachgelassene Werke," §98).

The second note (1885) states: “Justice, as the function of a power that sees far and wide, that sees past the narrow perspectives of good and evil, therefore has a wider horizon of interest: the intention to preserve something that is more than this or that person" (Werke, vol. XIII, "Nachgelassene Werke," §158).

A meticulous explication of these thoughts would exceed the bounds of the reflection attempted here. Here let it suffice to point to the essential area where justice, as thought by Nietzsche, belongs. To prepare to understand the justice that Nietzsche has in mind, we must exclude all the ideas about justice that come from Christian, humanist, Enlightenment, bourgeois, and socialist morality. For Nietzsche does not at all understand morality as something determined in the first place within the ethical and juridical realms. Rather, he thinks morality on the basis of the being of beings in their entirety, i.e., on the basis of the will to power. What is just [das Gerechte] is in accordance with what is right [dem Rechten]. However, what is right is determined on the basis of that which is in being as a being. That is why Nietzsche says (Werke, vol. XIII, "Nachgelassene Werke," §462, from 1883): "Right = the will to make a momentary power relation obtain eternally. To be satisfied with that power relation is the pre-condition. Everything venerable is called in to let what is right appear to be eternal."

Parallel to this is a note from the following year: "The problem of justice. The first and most powerful thing is precisely the will and strength to overpower. The ruler establishes "justice" only afterward, which means, he measures things in accordance with his own measure. If he is very powerful, he can go very far in recognizing and letting alone the individual who is trying (Werke, vol. XIII, "Nachgelassene Werke,” §181). Although it may well be expected that Nietzsche's metaphysical concept of justice will still disconcert conventional ideas, he nonetheless hits on the essence of the justice which was already historically true at the beginning of the completion of the modern age, in the struggle for mastery over the earth, and which therefore determines all human transactions in this age, explicitly or not, hiddenly or openly.

Justice thought by Nietzsche is the truth of the beings that are in the mode of the will to power. However, even Nietzsche failed to think justice explicitly as the essence of the truth of beings; nor, out of such thought, did he bring up the metaphysics of completed subjectity. Justice, however, is the truth of beings that is determined by being itself. As this truth, justice is metaphysics itself in its modern completion.


You realise there are at least three ways of reading that question..

Are you referring to the:

  • legal concept of natural justice, aka procedural fairness?
  • philosophical concept of "we hold these truths to be self evident"
  • cosmic, universe is listening, karma?

If you're referring to the legal concept, this holds because there are fundamental rights or expectations (in jurisprudence) that apply to people going through a legal process. For example, the right to be heard, the right to a fair trial, etc. These underlying 'rights' are there to ensure that the legal process can operate effectively and are termed natural justice. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean that a legal outcome will be fair and just. Instead it means that a person has been given a fair and reasonable opportunity to state their case, and that the adjudicator (judge, magistrate, or jury) has reasonably considered the evidence before them.

If you're referring to either of the other types of natural justice, then I'm afraid I'd have to say no. I don't believe an ethical or moral compass for decency is a natural justice, and I don't believe that the universe (or diety/s) is presiding over our lives :P


Whatever the case, without Justice, a meaningless world will ensue, and such a civilization will burn out. Like energy, Life is not free -- you have to give back as much as you take. There is no other sustainable model.

How it unfolds, depends on whether you help or not. It could take the form a reasonable disagreement, where you refuse to submit to another's opinion. OR, perhaps, it will take the form of an insult to another or some other penalty.

There is a natural accounting in the soul when things are out-of-balance. Everyone senses these things naturally, but some don't want the guilt or responsibility. Drugs, vicarious living (TV and such), and denial prevent the natural restoration of balance and meaningfulness.

One must be an activist for Justice amidst a tendency for civilization to escape.

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