What is the rule of law?

15 February 2016
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What is the rule of law?

1. Universal ‘Triumph’ of the Rule of Law
1.1 The rise and fall and rise of the rule of law

Why another paper on the rule of law? There are at least two good reasons: firstly most descriptions of the rule of law are too vague or ambiguous for practical purposes, and secondly, much or most of what has been written defines it inaccurately. The first objective of this paper is to define the rule of law in sufficiently unambiguous and concrete terms to be used as a practical aid in drafting, analysing and implementing laws; the second is to critique the tendency to use the term as a synonym for whatever anyone espouses. The lack of clarity on when laws and practices violate the rule of law has become so extreme that one of the most important institutions of free and prosperous societies is in danger of becoming, so to speak, ‘void for vagueness’. 
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