Preview Response

Justice / Law

Dinesha Samararatne

Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia

Senior, Lecturer, Department of Public & International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka


I found the Brief to be convincing. It affirms my view that we are confronted with justice issues in the micro and the macro events of our lives and our work. However, I find that justice understood as ‘rights’ can sometimes be too abstract. Disagreements as to what ‘rights’ or what ‘justice’ ought to mean can sometimes distract us. When reading the Brief, I was reminded of Amartya Sen’s work on justice. Following Sen’s argument, I find it easier to agree on what constitutes ‘injustice’ and to consider what ‘justice’ could look like in relation to that injustice. I use this approach in working out my assessments of methodology in comparative constitutional law and in gender justice.

This Brief reminded me of the need to critique the methods and boundaries of our disciplines. If our scholarly commitment is to first-order justice, the methods that we employ and how we demarcate our disciplinary boundaries too must be aligned with that commitment. Reviewing our methodological and disciplinary commitments periodically and in community with like-minded scholars will help us to be honest in this process. In my work, adopting this process has helped me to be more modest about the claims that I make in my writing and to seek guidance from other disciplines in finding answers to the questions that I work with.