July 31, 2021

Concept of Corrective Justice: Meaning and Analysis

Meaning of Corrective Justice

Corrective justice is the idea that liability rectifies the injustice inflicted by way of one individual on another. This idea obtained its classic wording in Aristotle’s treatment of justice in Nicomachean Ethics, BookV[1]. More recently, it has become primary to modern theories of private regulation.

As its name indicates, corrective justice has a rectificatory characteristic. By correcting the injustice that the defendant has inflicted on the plaintiff, corrective justice asserts a connection between the treatment and the incorrect.

Aristotle takes up corrective justice, the part of precise justice that is concerned with the rectification of injustices from what he calls “interactions” among persons. Aristotle by no means spells out just what interactions are, however he does mention that interactions may be voluntary or involuntary.

Analysis of Concept of Corrective Justice

Aristotle’s account presents corrective and distributive justice as two contrasting forms of justice. Corrective justice, which offers with voluntary and involuntary transactions (the time being contracts and torts), focuses on whether one group has dedicated and the alternative has suffered a transactional injustice.

Distributive justice cope with the distribution of anything which is divisible (Aristotle mentions honours and goods) between the competitors in a political community. For Aristotle, justice in both these structure relates one individual to any other in accordance with a theory of equality or honest-ness (the Greek to ison connotes each).

Aristotle’s account makes it clear that this rectification operates correlatively on the two groups. A remedy directed at only one of the parties does no longer agree to corrective justice. For the court merely to get rid of the defendant’s wrongful advantage does no longer suffice because then the plaintiff is left nevertheless suffering a wrongful loss. Nor does it suffice for the court only to make acceptable the plaintiff’s loss, for then the defendant is left still enjoying his or her wrongful gain. The remedy consists in simultaneously removing the defendant’s excess and making right the plaintiffs deficiency. Justice is thereby achieved for both events by way of a single operation wherein the plaintiff recovers exactly what the defendant is made to surrender.

From these features of the corrective justice remedy – that it answers to the injustice and is correlatively structured – a third follows. Correlatively structured remedy responds to and undoes an injustice merely if that injustice is itself correlatively structured. In bringing an action in opposition to the defendant, the plaintiff is maintaining that the two are connected as doer and sufferer of the equal injustice. What the defendant has carried out what the plaintiff has suffered aren’t independent events. Rather, they are the similar and opposite poles of the same injustice, in order that what the defendant has performed counts as an injustice merely because of what the defendant has suffered, and vice versa. The law then rectifies this injustice by reversing its active and passive poles, so that the doer of injustice will become the victim of the regulation’s remedy.[2]

Only due to the fact the injustice is the identical from both facets does the remedy manages with the party as correlatively situated. Thus in the course of the transaction, from the incidence of injustice to its rectification, paty’s role is normatively significant only through the location of the other, that is the mirror.

Corrective justice is the theoretical construct that highlights the function of correlativity as the organizing concept implicit inside the dating between plaintiff and defendant.

The regulative function of corrective justice is likewise reflected within the evaluation with distributive justice. Corrective and distributive justice express categorically different structures of justification. Corrective justice links the doer and sufferer of an injustice in terms of their correlative positions.[3] Distributive justice, on the opposite side, offers with the sharing of an advantage or burden; it involves comparing the potential party to the distribution in phrases of a distributive criterion. Instead of linking one faction to another as doer and sufferer, distributive justice connects all parties via the benefit or burden they all share. The categorical difference between correlativity and comparison is made clean in the distinction between the numbers of parties that everyone admits. Corrective justice connects two events and no extra due to the fact a relationship of correlativity is necessarily bipolar.

Supporters of the standard interpretation take this to be simple, straightforward manner of understanding what the lordship does: he equalizes via removing what is multiple party ought to have of something and then returns “this”, the good taken away, to the other faction, thereby restoring each to the positions they had before the inequality has to be created. If so, Aristotle’s thesis of correction may be embarrassingly simplistic, but it’s far undeniably a structure of rectifying via compensating the injured party.[4]

But even if accepting of the usual interpretation is widespread, it is not universal. Years ago, J.Burnet scoffed at what even then he stated turned into the “common view”, calling it a “Childish doctrine”[5]. Instead of returning the factions to a few pre-interplay equality, according to Burnet, corrective justice operates in very different ways depending on whether or not it’s far carried out to a voluntary or an involuntary interaction. When implemented to the former, it needs that the honest worth of the produce to be exchanged be determined earlier of the exchange and this provides the degree which to choose whether what every faction is soliciting for is just. Regarding involuntary interactions, according to Burnet, Aristotle distinguishes between a harm- probably a substantial loss of some sort- and an injustice, probably a damage specified by the law. Corrective justice that the offender suffer a punishment equal to what is the “arithmetical mean” among the actual harm suffered by the sufferer and the wrong done, which can be extra or much less critical than the damage. So, for Burnet, corrective justice is by functional; it operates in exceptional ways relying on whether or not the inequality to be corrected includes a voluntary or an involuntary interplay.

Tort Law As Corrective Justice:

The notion of corrective justice stems from Aristotle’s distinction among distributive and corrective justice. Distributive justice addresses the problem of ways the advantages of a well classified society ought to be disbursed amongst its members. Corrective justice, on the other hand, is concerned with a nearby or temporary distortion inside the distributive scheme: if A takes a loaf of bread from B with the aid of violence or stealth, then corrective justice requires that an adjustment be made in desire of B. Aristotle’s notion was that the adjustment have to be “arithmetic” within the perception that we look to measure what A gained and what B lost with a view closer to restoring the stability among them. Further, he believed that problems of corrective justice have to be weighed independently of any concern for distributive questions.

Tort[6] cases emerging from unintentional injuries may be understood as issues in corrective justice. A sues B alleging that an event happened wherein A and B have been each concerned and that within the course of this prevalence A’s health, wealth, or happiness has been unjustly diminished via B. Tort cases are neighborhood inside the sense that they focus upon the equities created by a single event or by way of a chain of related events.

A corrective justice explanation for tort law[7] has a strong intuitive basis – if one party wrongfully injures any other, our inner most intuitions appear to argue that justice requires a remedy. Furthermore, the pursuit of justice is itself a critical aim and one which has strong justificatory force in preserving public institutions.


All laws related to commercialized transactions are dealt within the remedial and corrective actions. It targets to repair what an individual had misplaced due to the injustice of the society. This justice prevents from encroachments of one right over the other.

A corrective justice method attempts to determine the normative nature of legal responsibility as a familiar exercise within which justification has a pervasive role. A corrective justice approach takes the justificatory objectives of this exercise critically by focusing on the law’s internal normative dimension.

Corrective justice so conceived is an integrating concept that reveals meaning of consistency within a apparatus of legal responsibility. One factor of its integrating strength is that it connects the injustice and its rectification. The ground of the legal responsibility each specifies the character of the injustice and determines the essence of the remedy that corrects it.

Corrective justice is the structure of justification implicit within the practice; and, to the degree that it’s just and coherent, the exercise, through its doctrines, institutions, and modes of discourse, is the precise recognition of corrective justice in a functioning system of legal responsibility.

For more notes on Jurisprudence, click here.


[1] Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, V, 2-5, 1130al4-1133b28

[2] Restitutionary Damages as Corrective Justice, by Ernest J. Weinrib

[3] Questioning the Idea of Correlativity in Weinrib’s Theory of Corrective Justice, by Ariel Porat

[4] Aristotle on Corrective Justice, by Thomas C. Brickhouse

[5] Ibid

[6] Wrongful act or an infringement of a right leading to civil liability

[7] An extremely broad area of civil law that covers wrongdoings committed against another individual.

Author Details: Rohan Kapoor (Maharashtra National Law University, Aurangabad)


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