The words just, legal and lawful can easily be confused when we are not speaking in terms of the law context. There is a difference between those concepts ifyou look at the name that comes from the adjective. From the moral point of view, the 3 definitions are completely different in a base that we can compare very precisely.
So, to better understandthe differences between these concepts, we can begin to compare one of it (the legal concept) with another definition: the definition of legitimacy. I think it is important to distinguish these twoconcepts in order to have a clear idea of what legal really means. Every administrative act has presumption of legality and legitimacy. The terms ‘’legal’’ and ‘’legitimate’’ do not mean the same. Bothare extremely important to the Administrative Law because they give the administrative act a presumption to be lawful or legitimate and to respond the collective interest. This is only a conjecture oflaw and it will always be until proven otherwise.
On one hand we assume that from the government there was respect for the law. On the other hand legitimacy refers to the social acceptance of the actand therefore is related to the domestic state in which people elect their representatives who in turn perform the executive task represented by administrative acts. Made by the legitimaterepresentatives of society, the administrative act performed by them will also be endowed with legitimacy or social acceptance. The legality in fact refers or relates to the rule of law, the positive right,which regulates all administrative acts which are infralegal.
I may give a Portuguese example to realize what legality concretely means and what makes this concept more precise than then the concept oflegitimacy. When we discussed the possibility of a referendum on abortion everybody have been concerned about its legitimacy and almost no one sought to discuss the lawfulness. The legitimacy that...