Rule of Law (and Rechtsstaat)
17 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2013
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: Suggested Citation