The morality of a moral statute of limitations on injustice

Journal of Ethics 7 (1):115-138 (2003)
This paper addresses the question of whether astatute of limitations on injustice is morallyjustified. Rectificatory justice calls for theascription of a right to rectification once aninjustice has been perpetrated. To claim amoral statute of limitations on injustice is toclaim a temporal limit on the moral legitimacyof rights to rectification. A moral statute oflimitations on injustice establishes an amountof time following injustice after which claimsof rectification can no longer be valid. Such astatute would put a time limit on the life ofall moral rights to rectification. Sinceascribing a right to rectification for aninjustice is a requirement of justice, andsince the temporal limit called for by astatute of limitations on injustice is aconstraint on that requirement, the idea of astatute of limitations on injustice is morallyjustified only if we have good reasonsfor accepting this constraint. I argue that theidea of a moral statute of limitations oninjustice is not justified, since we lackgood reasons for imposing the constrainton justice it requires.
Keywords compensation  injustice  justice  rectification  rectificatory justice  statute of limitations
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DOI 10.1023/A:1022831030301
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