The Four Types of Justice: Commutative, Distributive, Legal And Social Justice!

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IN this article, you can read and get information about the different applications and types of justice. There are four types of justice: Below you can see and read the four types of justice.

Commutative Justice

Commutative justice regulates and harmonizes the exercise of rights between man and man. It covers private persons as well as juridical persons (communities or associations) to render to each other according to the principle of give and take. This means that the exchange of anything shall be based on equal value. The business transaction of equitable pricing of goods is an example of commutative application of justice.

Distributive Justice

Distributive justice regulates the exercise of rights between the individual and the community. The objective end of this form of justice is the private or particular good of each member of the community. Distributive justice therefore regulates the acts of the public authority or of the State in relation to the rights of the individual citizen or party. It presupposes these rights as something which public authority or community ought to preserve and respect. It is distributive justice which regulates the imposition of taxes, fees or privileges by the community upon the individual member. Likewise, the individual members practice distributive justice by accepting uncomplainingly the equitable distribution of burdens and privileges.

Legal Justice

Legal justice regulates the exercise of rights between the community and the authority charged with the welfare of the community. The objective purpose of legal justice is the common good. The “common good” refers to the sum total of those conditions of social living necessary and contributory to the development of man within the community. The imposition of laws derives from legal justice.

Legal and distributive justice compliments each other. “In the measure in which the individual devotes his powers and resources to the common welfare, the community must show its concerns for his particular welfare.

One who does more for the community is entitled to greater respect and advantage from the community itself. Participation in privileges on the other hand, obliges the individual member of the community to ever greater effort to dedicate himself and his resources with a fuller sense of responsibility to the community.

Social Justice

Social justice presupposes commutative justice as a condition. But it goes far beyond the requirements of commutative justice. Its objective purpose is the common good, and is thus also called “justice of the common welfare” or justice of the community”. Where commutative justice depends on the law or legal contracts between individuals, social justice draws its force from the solidarity of men living in the community of persons.

The model of social justice is the solidly united family where the common interest prevails and where it is self-evident that the weaker members have just claim on the stronger ones and on the solidarity of all.

In the political order the state has the obligation to safeguard every member of the community, life, sustenance, and the opportunity of work. In the individual level, social justice imposes the obligation to assist those in need so that they too are able to live in the manner worthy of their dignity as persons. Taking the Philippine situation as a case example, Vitaliano Gorospe describes how social justice may operate.


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