Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
One of the most significant passages in the Doctrine of Right is contained in §41, entitled “Transition from the State of Nature to the Juridical State”:
The juridical state (der rechtliche Zustand) is the relationship among human beings which contains the conditions solely under which everyone can enjoy his rights. The formal principle of the possibility of this state, seen according to the idea of a universal legislating will, is called public justice. In relation to the possibility or reality or necessity of the possession of objects (as the substance of choice) according to laws, public justice can be divided into protective (iustitia tutatrix), mutually acquiring (iustitia commutativa), and distributive justice (iustitia distributiva). – Here law first says merely what conduct internally according to its form is right (lex iusti); second, what as substance is also externally capable of law, i.e. what state of possession is juridical (lex iuridica); third, what, and through the judgment of a court in a particular case under the given law, is in accordance with it [the law], i.e. what is established as right (lex iustitiae), where one then calls that court the justice of a country, and whether such justice exists or not can be called the most important of all juridical issues.