Procedural Naturalism

Procedural Naturalism

Procedural naturalism is a theory in jurisprudence that combines elements of natural law theory with a focus on procedural justice. While traditional natural law theory emphasises substantive moral principles as the foundation of law, procedural naturalism emphasises the importance of fair and just legal procedures in ensuring the legitimacy and authority of law. Here are some key characteristics of procedural naturalism:

Fair legal procedures: Procedural naturalism holds that the legitimacy of legal norms and decisions depends not only on their substantive moral content but also on the fairness and impartiality of the procedures used to create, interpret, and apply them.

Rule of law: Procedural naturalism emphasises the importance of the rule of law as a fundamental principle of justice. It argues that legal systems should be based on clear and consistent rules and procedures that are applied uniformly to all individuals and institutions.

Protection of rights: Procedural naturalism recognises the importance of procedural rights and protections in safeguarding individual liberties and ensuring due process of law. It emphasises the need for legal procedures that protect against arbitrary or discriminatory actions by the state or other authorities.

Adversarial process: Procedural naturalism often involves an adversarial process in which opposing parties present their arguments and evidence before a neutral decision-maker, such as a judge or jury. This process is seen as essential for achieving a fair and impartial resolution of legal disputes.

Transparency and accountability: Procedural naturalism emphasises the importance of transparency and accountability in legal proceedings. It argues that legal decisions should be based on open and transparent procedures that allow for scrutiny and review by affected parties and the public.

Judicial review and oversight: Procedural naturalism recognises the role of courts and other oversight bodies in ensuring the fairness and legality of legal procedures. It advocates for judicial review of administrative actions and the enforcement of procedural rights through legal remedies.

Conflict resolution: Procedural naturalism provides a framework for resolving conflicts and disputes through fair and impartial legal procedures. It emphasises the importance of peaceful and lawful resolution of conflicts within a society.

Examples: Examples of procedural naturalism can be found in legal systems that prioritise procedural fairness and due process, such as common law systems with strong traditions of judicial review and protection of procedural rights.

In summary, procedural naturalism combines elements of natural law theory with a focus on fair and just legal procedures. It emphasises the importance of procedural justice in ensuring the legitimacy and authority of law, protecting individual rights, and resolving conflicts within society.
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