Law and (Social) Justice - Nordic Perspectives

22 Pages Posted: 1 May 2011

See all articles by Pia Letto-Vanamo

Pia Letto-Vanamo

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law -Centre of Excellence in Foundations of European Law and Polity

Date Written: April 26, 2011


In the following, questions related to the relationship between law and justice will be discussed. The starting point lies mainly in legal history, but also topics relevant for current legal argumentation will be handled. The focus will be on what we call Nordic Law. It will be argued that there is something we can call justice and that positive law can - or should - be measured by it. With a historical introduction and some examples taken from Nordic legal literature, the author suggests that there are different "techniques" for bringing idea(s) of justice within modern legal systems. These techniques are historically determined, and there are local variations even within the "Nordic legal family" in their use. And there are differences between legal orders based on their openness to corrections for justice. Thus, when the meaning and future possibilities of the social justice concept in various legal systems is compared, the "technical" dimension - that of functions and means of various legal actors, especially their role and style in legal argumentation - cannot be neglected. In the following, techniques of legal scholarship will be discussed in particular.

Keywords: Justice, social justice, legal argumentation, Nordic law, legal principles

Suggested Citation

Letto-Vanamo, Pia, Law and (Social) Justice - Nordic Perspectives (April 26, 2011). Helsinki Legal Studies Research Paper No. 5. Available at SSRN: or

Pia Letto-Vanamo (Contact Author)

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law -Centre of Excellence in Foundations of European Law and Polity ( email )

Porthania 5th Floor
P.O. Box 4
Helsinki, FIN-0001 4

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