Chapter

‘The Rule of Law: Some Sceptical Thoughts’ Lecture Given at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law 16 October 2007

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262350.003.0105
‘The Rule of Law: Some Sceptical Thoughts’ Lecture Given at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law 16 October 2007

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Dicey famously identified three principles which together establish the rule of law: the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power; equality before the law or the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary courts; and the law of the constitution is a consequence of the rights of individuals as defined and enforced by the courts. The criminal behaviour of individuals (that is, criminal under international law, being war crimes, crimes against humanity, or even genocide) are beyond the competence of the International Court of Justice. It is for that reason that we have seen in recent years the establishment of the international criminal courts and tribunals. Of course, in a national system there are many different courts so that risk is always present — but there is a hierarchical structure which is lacking in international relations.

Keywords: International Court of Justice; rule of law; international law; regular law; equality before the law; constitution; war crimes; international criminal courts; international relations

Chapter.  4818 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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