The Law's Own Virtue

18 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2018 Last revised: 29 Jul 2019

See all articles by Joseph Raz

Joseph Raz

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; Columbia University - Law School; King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: October 6, 2018


The paper offers a new account of the rule of law, revising my previous view, and criticising some alternatives. It focuses on the rule of law's aim to avoid arbitrary government, and on its relation to the essential functions of government. The rule of law requires that government action will manifest an intention to protect and advance the interests of the governed. As such it is almost a necessary condition for the law's ability to meet other moral demands, and it facilitate coordination and cooperation internally and internationally.

Keywords: rule of law, arbitrary government, government as custodian, the interest of the governed

Suggested Citation

Raz, Joseph, The Law's Own Virtue (October 6, 2018). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-609, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10/2019, King's College London Law School Research Paper No. 2019-17, Available at SSRN: or

Joseph Raz (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

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Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
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King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

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London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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