Advertisement

What Is the Rule of Law and Why Is It So Important?

  • Mortimer SellersEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

A state governed by the rule of law describes a state where both private and public powers are removed from the administration of justice and are regulated by law. The rule of law serves the public good of the community as a whole. It is a system where laws rule and not men. The law determines what is necessary in a society to prevent domination and oppression and to promote the common good. As people seek justice through law, the rule of law comes at first from men itself, because men obey rules they believe to be just and arise against ones they consider unjust. The value of the rule of law lies in the fact that it prevents arbitrary judgments, secures justice, and prevents tyranny and oppression. It limits the power of those who have authority. The government must first control the people and then it must be obliged to control itself. It must therefore be stable and constitutional and it can therefore be implied that some states are not ready to implement the rule of law, because the governments cannot be trusted. The author argues that the most important step towards the rule of law is when judges are independent of executive and legislative powers. Constant attention to the combination of powers in a state is required, because only in this way can laws be created for the common good. Law must be separated from arbitrary power.

Keywords

Public Official Common Good Private Interest Representative Government Public Power 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Adams J (1787) A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, vol I. LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams J (1788) A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, vol III. LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Aristoteles (350 B.C.) Politika. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.html
  4. Barenboim P, Hickey J, Silkenat J (eds) (2014) The Legal Doctrines of the Rule of Law and the Legal State. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  5. Bohman J (1996) Public Deliberation: Pluralism, Complexity, and Democracy. MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  6. de Tocqueville A (1835) De la démocratie en Amérique. ParisGoogle Scholar
  7. de Vattel E (1758) Le droit des gens ou principes de la loi naturelle appliqués à la conduite et aux affaires des nations et des souverains. http://lf-oll.s3.amazonaws.com/titles/1051/0586-01_Bk.pdf
  8. Giannotti G (1974) Libro della Republica de’ Viniziani (1540). In: Diaz F (ed) Opere politiche. Marzorati, MilanGoogle Scholar
  9. Harrington J (1992) The Commonwealth of Oceana (1659). In: Pocock JGA (ed) Harrington, The Commonwealth of Oceana and a system of politics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  10. Hobbes T (1651) LeviathanGoogle Scholar
  11. Kant I (1795) Zum ewigen FriedenGoogle Scholar
  12. Madison J [“Publius”] (1787) in The Federalist No. 10, 22 Nov 1787Google Scholar
  13. Madison J [“Publius”] (1788) in The Federalist LI, 6 Feb 1788Google Scholar
  14. Madison J [“Publius”] (1788) in The Federalist LXIII, 1 March 1788Google Scholar
  15. Mill JS (1859) On LibertyGoogle Scholar
  16. Mill JS (1861) Considerations on Representative Government. LondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Ostwald M (1986) From Popular Sovereignty to the Sovereignty of Law. University of California PressGoogle Scholar
  18. Pettit P (1997) Republicanism: a Theory of Freedom and Government. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  19. Rawls J (1999) The Law of Peoples: With, “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited”. Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  20. Raz J (1985) Authority, Law and Morality. The Monist 68(3):295–324Google Scholar
  21. Sellers MNS (1991) Republican Impartiality. Oxf J Legal Stud 11(2):273–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sellers MNS (1998) The Sacred Fire of Liberty: Republicanism, Liberalism, and the Law. Palgrave MacMillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. Sellers MNS (2004) The Value and Purpose of Law. Baltimore Law J 33:145 et seqGoogle Scholar
  24. Sellers MNS (2010) An Introduction to the Rule of Law in Comparative Perspective. In Sellers MNS, Tomaszewski T (eds) The Rule of Law in Comparative Perspective. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 1–9Google Scholar
  25. Tacitus C Annalium ab excessu divi Augusti libri. https://archive.org/stream/annaliumabexces02tacigoog#page/n6/mode/2up
  26. Wolff C (1764) Jus gentium methodo scientifica pertractatumGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University System of MarylandAdelphiUSA
  2. 2.Center for International and Comparative LawUniversity of BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations