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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2012845
 
 

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The History and Elements of the Rule of Law


Brian Z. Tamanaha


Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law

February 28, 2012

Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-02-07

Abstract:     
This Public Lecture, delivered at the Singapore Academy of Law, provides an overview of the history and elements of the rule of law. I begin with a definition of the rule of law, and I elaborate on what this definition entails as well as what it excludes. I then explore three core themes: 1) government limited by law, 2) formal legality, and 3) β€œthe rule of law, not man.” With respect to each theme, I describe strengths as well as limitations of the rule of law. In closing, I identify the key source of the rule of law in society, and I mention the diversity of manifestations of the rule of law across societies. A central theme of the essay is that the rule of law, while delivering many benefits, does not by itself insure a just government or society.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: rule of law, legality, government, justice

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Date posted: March 1, 2012 ; Last revised: April 25, 2013

Suggested Citation

Tamanaha, Brian Z., The History and Elements of the Rule of Law (February 28, 2012). Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-02-07. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2012845 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2012845

Contact Information

Brian Z. Tamanaha (Contact Author)
Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law ( email )
Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
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