What is Natural Justice | Definition; Meaning and Principles

Natural Justice

Natural justice is an important concept in the legal systems of the world. It is not possible to define the expression precisely and scientifically. "Natural Justice" Natural justice has meant many things to many writers, lawyers, and systems of law. It has many colors, shades, and many forms of shapes.

What is Natural Justice | Definition; Meaning and Principles

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Derivation of term Natural Justice:

The term principles of Natural Justice are derived from the expression Jus natural in the Roman law.

Meaning of Natural Justice:

  • According to the Oxford Dictionary of Law:

Rules of fair play were originally developed by the courts of equity to control the decisions of an inferior court.

Definition of Natural Justice:

  • According to Smith:

"The term 'natural justice' expresses the close relationship between the common law & moral principles describing what is right and what is wrong".

Nemo in propria causa judex, Esse debit:

  • "No One Should Be a Judge in his Own Case"
  • "Justice Should Not Only Be Done But Manifestly And Undoubtedly Be Seen To Be Done."

The main rule of natural justice is the rule against bias known as "Nemo in Propria Causa Judex, Esse Debet, i.e no one should be made a judge in his own cause". A body of persons should act as impartial and should not be biased and prejudiced.

  • Meaning of term bias

The term "Bias means an operative prejudice, whether conscious or unconscious, as a result of some preconceived opinion or predisposition, about a party or an issue.

  • Major purpose of the rules against bias

The major purpose of the rule against bias is to make the judicial process fair and without prejudice.

  • Application

The principle of natural justice should also apply to quasi-judicial proceedings.

  • Procedural fairness and the rules against bias:

Procedural fairness and the rule that the court could declare an Act of Parliament void it made a man as a judge in his own cause, or otherwise against common right and reason.

Classification of bias:

  • Pecuniary bias

It is a recognized and well-settled principle of law that when there are least pecuniary interests in the litigation, any person can be disqualified as a judge.

  • Personal bias

Personal bias is due to relationships arising between professional and personal parties because it is the nature of human beings that he always favors their friends, family, and relatives.

  • Official bias or subject matter bias

Official bias arises when some general interest of the judge arises as to some departmental policy and as to a particular subject against some party in adjudication.


  • Runnymede 1215:

Runnymede 1215 adopts the idea of the main principles of natural justice; Magna Carta was the first document that has been given statutory recognition for the first time.

  • In the legal system of the world:

In the legal system of the world, Audi Alteram Partem is a well-known and established principle of natural justice.

  • Elements of the maxim:

The right to a fair hearing Audi alteram partem is a well-known second principle of natural justice, meaning thereby that no person added be condemned unheard and a reasonable opportunity should be given to a person to be heard during the case.

Notice of hearing or the right to be informed in advance

Notice is the first major principle of the rule 'Audi alteram partem' that nobody should be condemned unheard.

  • Necessary ingredients

  1. It should not be ambiguous and must be precise.
  2. Reasonable time
  3. Reasonable time should be given to the party to make sure his presence and appraise the party following his case.
  4. Notice not being served to parties
  5. If notice is not being served to parties, then the order will be null and void and be vitiated wholly so it is necessary to give notice from avoiding any adverse order. It is, after all, an approved rule of fair play.

  • Hear the other side

When it is said that hear the other side. It means that the hearing should not be reduced to mere formality and it does not remain confined to only auditory hearing.

Delivered and communicated to the interested party The notice must be delivered and communicated to the interested party, preferably in writing.

  • The right to a reasonable time to prepare a response

The principle of Audi alteram partem requires that not only the party concerned give prior notice of the precise purpose of the inquiry or hearing, but also that the person is given proper or sufficient information according to relevant information to prepare his case.

  • The right to be heard

The parties must be given the reasonable opportunity of being heard. Before the decision was announced.

Presentation of relevant evidence and hearing of witnesses. It is also an important ingredient to presenting the evidence during the case and a probative value of evidence should be taken by any administrative tribunal.

  • Legal representation

The right of legal presentation is followed by the circumstances that depict rules of fairness in the principle of natural justice.

  • Adjournment of hearing

Since the discovery of new facts and to adjudicate the matters, parties may request for the adjournment of the hearing during the pendency of the suit.

  • Cross-examination

The right to a fair hearing also includes the right of the affected party to cross- examine the makers of the statement.

Issuance of speaking orders or reasoned decissions

Now, it has been the universally accepted principle that giving reasons for a certain decision is termed as the proper and good feature for the fundamental administration. The established principle of natural justice It has been an established principle of natural justice that a party is designated and entitled to know why the matter has been decided against him.

The supreme court of Pakistan held that orders passed judicially should be speaking orders. In Pakistan, Section 24A of the General Clauses Act, 1897 requires that all executive authorities give reasons for their orders wherever necessary or appropriate". The connection between the order and the mind of the person So, the reasons are the connection between the order and the mind of the person who makes it. "Any decision of the administrative authority affecting the rights of the people without assigning any reason tantamount to violation of principles of natural justice. The requirement of stating the reasons cannot be underemphasized as it serves the following purposes:

  1. It ensures that the administrative authority will apply its mind and objectively look at the facts and evidence of the case.
  2. It ensures that all the relevant factors have been considered and that the relevant factors have been left out.
  3. It satisfies the aggrieved party in the sense that his viewpoints have been examined and considered before concluding.
  4. The appellate authorities and courts are in a better position to consider the appeals on the question of law.

Final Remarks

Finally, it may be concluded that principles of natural justice are those rules which have been laid down by the courts as being the minimum protection of the rights of the individuals against the arbitrary procedure that may be adopted by a judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative authority while making an order affecting those rights.

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