The Rule of Law and Respect for Persons


15 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2022 Last revised: 4 Jan 2023

See all articles by Thomas Adams

Thomas Adams

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 8, 2022


This paper, for a forthcoming collection on the work of T.R.S. Allan, considers the relationship between the rule of law and individual autonomy. A common thought about the rule of law is that its observance ensures a baseline of respect for the individual and that it is therefore a moral achievement. In the paper I reject this argument and go on to defend a different connection between legality and autonomy. While adherence to the rule of law on the part of government does not involve respect for individual agency, disregard for its requirements nonetheless entails disrespect. A consequence of this is that while compliance with the rule of law does not instantiate positive moral value, departures from its requirements are pro tanto wrong and hence stand in need of justification.

Keywords: General Jurisprudence; The Rule of Law; T.R.S. Allan; Lon Fuller

Suggested Citation

Adams, Thomas, The Rule of Law and Respect for Persons (December 8, 2022). Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Thomas Adams (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

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