Justice in and of the European Union

16 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2014 Last revised: 6 Nov 2014

See all articles by Neil Walker

Neil Walker

University of Edinburgh, School of Law

Date Written: February 13, 2014

Abstract

This paper examines the strengths and limitations of the idea of justice as a way of exploring and assessing the legitimacy of the EU. Justice is either conceived of 'in' various specialist policy sectors (environmental, security, gender etc.,), so responding to a disaggregated notion of the EU polity and its legitimacy. Or justice is conceived of as a feature 'of' the EU as a whole - so responding to a holistic notion of the EU polity and its legitimacy. On the one hand, the disaggregated approach can at best be supplementary to the holistic approach, since, as the European financial crisis has once again vividly exposed, the EU can and does develop 'joined-up' policy with significant cross-sectoral consequences across its 28 member states. On the other hand, a more rounded idea of justice stands as a means of collective self-authorisation that complements democracy - itself indispensable but problematic in the EU context - as a way of thinking of legitimacy in polity-holistic terms. In particular, the recent popularity of a conception of justice as a 'right to justification ' seeks to combine the 'democratic' merit of equal subjective right with an objective concern for good public-regarding reason. The paper concludes by discussing the strengths and limitations of the idea of justice as the right to justification.

Keywords: Justice, Justification, European Union, Democracy, Delegation, Collective Self-Authorisation, Legitimacy

Suggested Citation

Walker, Neil, Justice in and of the European Union (February 13, 2014). Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-10 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2399026 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2399026

Neil Walker (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh, School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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