What Is Procedural Justice?

According to Michelle Maiese of Beyond Intractability, procedural justice refers to the idea of promoting a sense of fairness by establishing and maintaining unbiased resource allocation and dispute resolution mechanisms. Procedural justice encourages parties in a dispute to accept results of the mechanisms even when they are not in their favor.

Correct implementation of the concept of procedural justice requires the exercise of several principles, according to Maiese. Consistency is perhaps the most important. Cases must be handled in the same way. Differences should spring from personal preferences of the parties involved and not from flaws in judicial mechanisms. Secondly, officials entrusted with implementing dispute resolution and resource allocation procedures should be neutral. Parties in a conflict are more likely to accept results of a settlement if officials are seen as unbiased. Thirdly, those likely to be affected by outcomes of dispute resolution mechanisms should have a voice in the process. Finally, implementation of the mechanisms should be transparent. There should be no hint of guile or deception throughout the process.

Correct implementation of procedural justice enhances compliance and improves group cohesion, according to Wikipedia. Procedural justice is applied to a wide range of contexts, from sentencing violent offenders, settling trade disputes to mediating between nations.