This article presents an overview of this special issue on Rechtsstaat in late modernity.
This article focuses on a specific issue that both permeates and transcends the debate surrounding the concept of the Rechtsstaat in late modernity: the search for consolidated normative criteria to substantiate this rather abstract and somewhat formalistic debate. It first describes the inherent dynamism and pluralism of Rechtsstaat. This description, secondly, points to the need for a theory of justice to substantiate this essentially contested concept. The article concludes, thirdly, by pointing to a few issues that are of relevance to any in-depth analysis of the requirements of justice for policies of criminalization and punishment in the late modern Rechtsstaat. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.