Social Justice and Administrative Justice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Social justice is a popular concept, used by academic theorists, international bodies such as the United Nations, politicians on both the left and the right and by community activists. This chapter considers how the term ‘social justice’ may or may not be useful in the context of ‘administrative justice’ by looking at the relationship between administrative justice and structural inequalities. Administrative justice scholars usually focus on procedures. By contrast, social justice scholars are more concerned with substantive outcomes. They draw attention to the major rifts in society which lead to huge inequalities of outcome in terms of material wealth, health, education and life expectancy. Administrative justice, with its emphasis on rule following and fair procedures, can often seem divorced from these inequalities. This is where the concept of social justice can help administrative justice scholars. Administrative justice scholars, often dismiss outcomes as being beyond the reach of law, as being about politics. The emphasis on the ‘social’ in social justice compels us to look at this broader context and to show us how the great schisms in society create and enforce inequality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice
EditorsJoe Tomlinson, Robert Thomas, Marc Hertogh, Richard Kirkham
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190903084
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jun 2021


  • social justice
  • inequality
  • rights
  • welfare states
  • globalization


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