The Rule of Law and Courts in Democratizing Regimes

Rebecca Bill Chavez

in The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199208425
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

The Rule of Law and Courts in Democratizing Regimes

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The rule of law is a broad concept that encompasses many areas including judicial autonomy, access to justice, human rights, and property rights. It entails the equality of all citizens under the law and predictability in the application of rules and regulations. The past decade has witnessed a growing recognition by political scientists that an independent judiciary can bolster both political and economic development. As nations struggle to consolidate democracy, we have witnessed a surge of promising new scholarship on the conditions under which the rule of law emerges and endures. Judicial independence and the rule of law constitute important bulwarks against the erosion of democratic institutions. According to the separation of powers approach, the rule of law becomes possible when no single actor or group of actors has sufficient power to dominate. In addition, the burgeoning literature on the construction of the rule of law includes impressive scholarship on the key role of non-state actors, particularly of civil society and the international community.

Keywords: rule of law; judicial independence; democracy; separation of powers; civil society; international community; independent judiciary

Article.  7850 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Politics and Law

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