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Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.

Legal concept[edit]

European Union law refers in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to:

  • A right to good administration:
Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union (Article 41)
Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law (Article 47).[1]

Religious concepts[edit]


Impartiality is one of the seven factors conducive to spiritual enlightenment in Buddhism. [citation needed]


Christian doctrine reflects the belief that God's nature transcends human biases and preferences. This perspective is derived from various passages in the Christian Bible that emphasize the impartiality of God and advocate for the practice of treating all individuals equally and without discrimination.

The assertion that "there is no partiality with God" is recurrent throughout the Bible. This idea is established in Romans 2:11, which emphasizes that God's judgment is not influenced by external factors such as nationality. God's justice is rooted in an unwavering fairness, devoid of favoritism.

The epistle to the Colossians further reinforces the notion of impartiality, stating that those who commit wrongdoings will be held accountable for their actions without any partiality based on their personhood. In Colossians 3:25, it is asserted that "there is no respect of persons," implying that God's judgment is based solely on one's deeds rather than their social or individual attributes.

The Epistle of James, in particular, offers a poignant illustration of the concept of impartiality in a social context. James 2:1–9 admonishes believers against showing favoritism based on appearances or socioeconomic status. It challenges the practice of treating the wealthy more favorably than the poor, highlighting the incongruity between such behavior and the teachings of Christ. James asserts that true faith is incompatible with discrimination and bias, as it contradicts the essence of Christianity, which esteems all individuals as equal recipients of God's grace.

In the context of wisdom and virtuous living, the book of James also emphasizes the importance of impartiality. James 3:17 describes the wisdom that comes from heaven as "first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." This verse underscores the divine attributes of impartiality and sincerity as essential components of heavenly wisdom, further emphasizing their significance within the Christian ethos.


  • "Truth, O Bharata, as it exists in all the world, is of thirteen kinds. The forms that Truth assumes are impartiality, self-control, forgiveness, modesty, endurance, goodness, renunciation, contemplation, dignity, fortitude, compassion, and abstention from injury." – Truth, The Mahabharata, Santi Parva, section CLXII.


  • "O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, God is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed God is ever, with what you do, Acquainted." —Quran 4:135
  • "O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for God, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear God ; indeed, God is Acquainted with what you do." —Quran 5:8


  • "You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor." —Leviticus 19:15, English Standard Version
  • "You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike." –Deuteronomy 1:17
  • "These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment." –Book of Proverbs 24:23

See also[edit]


  1. ^ European Parliament, Council and Commission, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 26 October 2012

Further reading[edit]

  • Gert, Bernard (1995). "Moral Impartiality". Midwest Studies in Philosophy. XX: 102–127. doi:10.5840/msp1995207.
  • Dworkin, Ronald (1977). Taking Rights Seriously. Harvard University Press.
  • Occhiogrosso, Peter (1991). "Buddhism". The Joy of Sects: a spirited guide to the world's religious traditions. p. 84.

External links[edit]