The Rule of Law and the Rule of Persons
University College London - Department of Political Science; European University Institute
Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP), Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 221-251, 2001
This essay defends the Rule of Law as a set of formal attributes that any regular system of law must possess. However, it disputes the view that the Rule of Law could itself be a form of rule and hence offer criteria of good governance. Consequently, the qualities of fairness and equity associated with the Rule of Law must be seen as the product of a certain sort of rule of persons. The argument progresses through an investigation of five worlds of the Rule of Law: Bureaucratia, Monarchia, Communitaria, Libertaria and Respublica. The first, third and fourth attempt to rule through law alone, the second to see the Rule of Law as a form of personal rule. All fail, with the solution provided by the fifth. By ensuring all persons rule each over the others, Respublica offers a form of good governance that produces the forms and substance of the Rule of Law.
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Date posted: January 3, 2010 ; Last revised: September 20, 2010