Formal And Substantive Equality Essay

1254 words - 5 pages

Question 5- Explain the difference between formal (or procedural) equality and substantive equality.

Formal equality is known as the formal, legal equality. This is the equality that is seen as one law should be applied to all people, social and personal characteristics are no factor. Formal equality aims to distribute equality fairly and evenly, and aims to treat people the same. Formal equality does not ensure the wellbeing of individuals based on race, ethnicity, sex, age etc. Unfortunately, this side of equality does not recognize diversity and is insufficient for promoting social inclusiveness. Even though it may give the illusion of equality and justice, it is actually creating inequality and is actually ending up discriminating individuals (EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, 2004).

Substantive equality is referred to as equity in the sense that equality also involves recognizing differences when they are becoming disadvantages (Cheyne, O’Brien, Grave, 2008). Substantive equality looks at the roots of inequality and identifies them, even if this involves removing the barriers that disadvantage individuals. There is no guarantee of the outcome that may be produced, but individuals do have the equality of opportunity.

This model of equality recognizes differences and diversity, and can take those into account.
Formal equality and substantive equality are two very different forms of equality. Formal equality does not recognize difference, whereas substantive equality takes sex, race, ethnicity etc. all into account. Substantive equality gives opportunity of outcome and may recognize different situations or circumstances, whereas formal equality applies one rule to fit all people so that does not allow for any diversity.

How is retributive justice different from distributive justice?

To understand the differences between retributive and distributive justice we must first understand the definition of justice. Justice is about the proper distribution of goods and services (Cheyne, O’Brien, Grave, 2008, pg 53).
Retributive justice is more about punishment for wrong doing, the extent to which punishments are based on the severity and seriousness of the crime committed. Retributive justice is thought of as a moderately acceptable response to crime. It is about ‘devising the just response to punishment’ (Capeheart and Milovanovic, 2007). Distributive justice is the theory that benefits and burdens should be distributed among the individual in a way that is fair and just. For example, slavery was abolished because it was seen as unjust as it was treating people differently based on race. Distributive justice is concerned with the perceived fairness of the allocation of outcomes and rewards (Landy and Conte, 2010). It is believed that in using and applying distributive justice it is for the betterment of the community and will always work out to benefit the individual also. It is the view that everyone should get what they deserve...

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