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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is the rule of law?

What is the historical origin of the term 'rule of law'?

What is the significance of the rule of law in governance?

What is the difference between formalist and substantive definitions of the rule of law?

What is the role of the U.S. Constitution in defining the rule of law?

What is the Roerich Pact?

What is the World Justice Project's definition of the rule of law?

What is the role of education in promoting the rule of law?

What is the International Development Law Organization's goal in promoting the rule of law?


The rule of law is a political philosophy that holds all citizens and institutions accountable to the same laws, including lawmakers and leaders, to prevent the arbitrary use of power. The term can be traced back to 16th-century Britain and was popularized in the 19th century by British jurist A. V. Dicey. The rule of law implies that every person is subject to the law, including persons who are lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and judges. The principle was recognized by ancient thinkers, such as Aristotle, who wrote that law should govern instead of any one citizen. The rule of law has been considered one of the key dimensions that determine the quality and good governance of a country. Formalist definitions of the rule of law define specific procedural attributes that a legal framework must have to comply with the rule of law, while substantive conceptions of the rule of law include certain substantive rights that are said to be based on or derived from the rule of law. The rule of law is a long-standing principle of the way the United Kingdom is governed, dating from Magna Carta in 1215 and the Bill of Rights 1689. In the United States, all government officers pledge to uphold the Constitution, and the federal government has considerable discretion, as long as it stays within its enumerated powers and respects the constitutionally protected rights of individuals.Various Perspectives on the Rule of Law

  • Scholars debate whether the U.S. Constitution defines the "rule of law" and its interpretation.

  • Some argue that the rule of law has been weakened by the instrumental view of law promoted by legal realists.

  • The rule of law has survived but was transformed to allow for the exercise of discretion by administrators.

  • The U.S. Army and U.S. Government inter-agency agreement see the rule of law as a principle of governance.

  • In Canada, administrative law makes the rule of law an underlying constitutional principle.

  • East Asian cultures are influenced by Confucianism and Legalism, and the rule of law is weak in Cambodia and most of Asia.

  • China and Vietnam's transition to a market economy has led to a move towards the rule of law.

  • Japan's laws did not provide a central organizing principle for society before World War II.

  • Various organizations, including the EU Commission and the International Bar Association, are involved in promoting the rule of law.

  • The World Justice Project defines the rule of law as a durable system of laws, institutions, norms, and country commitment.

  • The International Development Law Organization works to empower people and communities to claim their rights and provides governments with the know-how to realize them.

  • The International Network to Promote the Rule of Law is a network of over 3,000 law practitioners from 120 countries and 300 organizations working on rule of law issues in post-conflict and developing countries.The Role of Rule of Law in Protecting Property Rights, Investment and Cultural Objects

  • F. A. Hayek's analysis of the benefits of the rule of law for the free market

  • Weak rule of law discourages investment, causing firms to abandon international investments

  • The Roerich Pact prioritizes the protection of cultural objects over military necessity

  • The Hague Convention focuses on the protection of cultural property in armed conflict

  • The disconnect between legal and popular consensus can hamper the rule of law, as seen in copyright laws and tax evasion across cultures

  • Education plays an important role in promoting the rule of law and a culture of lawfulness, helping learners develop constructive and responsible attitudes and behaviours

  • Global Citizenship Education is built on a lifelong learning perspective and can be delivered in formal, non-formal, and informal settings

  • Educational policies and programmes can support personal and societal transformations needed to promote and uphold the rule of law.


Do you know what the rule of law is and its significance in good governance? Test your knowledge with this informative quiz that covers various perspectives on the rule of law, its historical roots, and its role in protecting property rights, investment, and cultural objects. Challenge yourself and learn more about this crucial principle that underpins the way societies are governed.

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