Rule of Law

Martin Krygier

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199578610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Rule of Law

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  • Constitutional and Administrative Law



This article explores the theory of rule of law. It asks the question: What else is required if it is not enough for the rule of law that law should rule. Conventional accounts usually start with so-called ‘anatomical’ characterizations of the rule of law. That is to say, they stipulate elements of legal institutions, rules, and practices, and sometimes achievements, that are seen as adding up to the rule of law. Such accounts are contrasted with an expressly ‘teleological’ approach, which starts with reflection on immanent purposes and values of the rule of law, what it is for, and only then moves to spell out how such ends might be attained. That spelling out is likely to be more variable in content, and refer to many things besides legal institutions, than are familiar rule of law anatomies. It all depends on what is needed in particular places and times which themselves vary, to achieve the ends of the rule of law. The discussion here begins with some influential anatomies, and moves on to teleology.

Keywords: rule of law; anatomies; teleology; institutions; rules; practices

Article.  10459 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law ; Constitutional and Administrative Law

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