Moral Justification, Administrative Power and Emergencies

28 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2006 Last revised: 15 Apr 2015

See all articles by Re'em Segev

Re'em Segev

Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law


Harming people is generally wrong but exceptionally justified as the lesser evil, for the prevention of (sufficiently) more serious harm. The two aspects of this moral truth should be reflected in the law. This is not, however, always an easy task. It is especially difficult with respect to the powers of the executive branch of government concerning emergencies, in which there might be strong reasons to confer wide powers to perform harmful actions, as the lesser evil, but also strong reasons to curb and check such powers. This problem is especially relevant in the context of the struggle against terrorism, in which radical means are often suggested, and sometimes used, in order to confront (what are considered to be and sometimes are) grave dangers on lesser evil grounds. The paper explores this problem and offers a partial solution.

Keywords: Administrative Powers, Lesser Evil, Emergency, Terrorism

Suggested Citation

Segev, Re'em, Moral Justification, Administrative Power and Emergencies. Cleveland State Law Review, Vol. 53, No. 4, pp. 629-656, 2006. Available at SSRN:

Re'em Segev (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905


Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics