The Long Established And Noble Rule Of Law, One Of The Greatest Products Of The Character And Tradition Of British History, Has Suffered A Deadly Blow.” – Robert G. Menzies

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The long-established�and�noble rule of law, one of the greatest products of the character�and�tradition of British history, has suffered a deadly blow." - Robert G. Menzies

"Rule of Law" is both a play on my name, and a statement of my values. The rule of law is a foundation for both our liberties and for order. The rule of law respects us as equals. It allows us to organize our lives, plan our futures, and resolve disputes in a rational way. There are those around the world and throughout history who have fought in great struggles for the rule of law.

Rule of law is one of the pillars of the modern world, and widely considered ...view middle of the document...

For example, the court cannot convict a person of a crime committed before a criminal statute prohibiting the conduct was passed.

Laws should be written with reasonable clarity to avoid unfair enforcement.

Law must avoid contradictions.

Law must not command the impossible.

Law must stay constant through time to allow the formalization of rules; however, law also must allow for timely revision when the underlying social and political circumstances have changed.

Official action should be consistent with the declared rule.

Beyond Fuller's Elements

Fuller's criteria is helpful in understanding the rule of law because it outlines the types of rules, or formal constraints, that societies should develop in order to approach legal problems in a way that minimizes the abuse of the legal process and political power. The rule of law, however, extends beyond mere regulations and is also shaped by the so-called institutional constraints on government implied in Fuller's elements. One such institutional constraint is the existence of an independent judiciary; another is developing ways of promoting transparent governance. Informal constraints, such as local culture or traditions that may encourage citizens to organize their behavior around the law, also help constrain the government, promote liberty and, therefore, define the rule of law. Although still seemingly vague, the rule of law may be most concretely defined as a theory of governance relying upon a series of legal and social constraints designed to encourage order and to prevent arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of government power.

Defining the Rule of Law: Mapping Divergence

The concept of rule of law is practically as old as philosophical itself. From Aristotle, who saw the Rule of law as superior to the rule of man, to contemporaries like Ronald Dworkin and Judith Shklar, it has been debated through the years. Yet the concept of rule of law remains a conundrum. Despite its frequent use for centuries and notwithstanding over fifteen years of experience in this newly redefined venture, practitioners and theorists alike avow that there is single template and no fixed meaning for the rule of law. Renowned legal scholars concur on the impression and vagueness of the term, despite its frequent use. The definition of rule of law is at once confused and contested. However, scholars have acknowledged, in different ways, that there is not just confusion, but also a significant divergence between schools of thought on the definition and content of rule of law.

History of Rule of Law

The concept of Rule of Law is restricted to its historical genesis as a means of protection from the arbitrariness of `Rule of man' and from the abuse of power by the state. Friedrich von Hayek defines the concept as `Stripped of all its technicalities'; this means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand- rules which make it...

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