Rule of Law (and Rechtsstaat)

17 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2013

See all articles by Martin Krygier

Martin Krygier

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 15, 2013


In all its many versions, the rule of law has to do with the relationship between law and the exercise of power, particularly public power. As an ideal, it signals that law can and does well to contribute to articulating, channeling, constraining and informing - rather than merely serving - such exercise. Beyond that, what it rules out, what it allows, what it depends on and indeed what it is, are all matters of disagreements that stem from differences among political and legal histories and traditions, but also reflect dilemmas and choices that recur, in different forms and weights, in many such histories and traditions. This entry is concerned with these enduring themes, dilemmas and choices, as they occur within particular traditions, especially the common law ‘rule of law’ tradition, on the one hand, and the Continental Rechtsstaat tradition, on the other.

Keywords: rule of law, Rechtsstaat, arbitrary power, state, common law, government under law, government by law, morality of law

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K40

Suggested Citation

Krygier, Martin Evald John, Rule of Law (and Rechtsstaat) (August 15, 2013). UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2013-52, Available at SSRN:

Martin Evald John Krygier (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052

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