In 1969, Niklas Luhmann published his book ”Legitimation durch Verfahren”
(Legitimation by Procedure), which was widely quoted in German-speaking
countries. This book soon provoked a fierce debate. Contrary to the established
view, Luhmann stated that institutions produce their own legitimacy with
the social mechanism of procedures, regardless of the intentions of the parties.
Nowadays, empirical research has shown that procedural fairness is pivotal for the acceptance of decisions and for the legitimacy of the authorities. Even more, The behaviour of the people representing the authority is of paramount importance.
The article argues that to elicit legitimation, procedures must demonstrate
that they are fairly conducted. The development can be characterized as from
legitimation by procedure to legitimation by fair procedure.