chapter  2
Justice ‘from room to room’: toward a concept of procedural space in Kafka’s The Trial and the fictional work of Western jurisprudence edward mussawir
Pages 17

The opening paragraph of Justinian’s Digest records a fragment – taken from the first book of Ulpian’s Institutiones – on the relation between law (ius) and justice (iustitia). ‘For he who intends to devote himself to law (ius)’, the fragment from Ulpian states, ‘first it is necessary to know from where the very name of law [ius] derives. It is called such from justice [iustitia]. For . . . the law is the art of goodness and fairness’ (Ulpian, Digest 1, 1, 1). To derive the concept of law from that of justice today is nothing controversial. Modern legal thought easily presupposes that justice is meant to take us to the philosophical root of that which law explores and demands only in an outer, incomplete or derivative shape. And many contemporary theorists of law have no trouble acknowledging, whether or not directly in Derrida’s footsteps, the possibility and even imperative in critiquing and deconstructing the law as such, alongside the radical impossibility of doing the same to ‘justice’. Yet Aldo Schiavone (2012), in his close reading of this fragment, allows a dierent story to be told when he observes that of course the opposite of the statement was true in the historical and etymological sense: that ‘iustitia derived from ius, and not the other way around’, and that Ulpian, the great classical Roman jurist, could not have been unaware of this (Schiavone 2012, 419).