This paper describes and defends a novel and distinctively egalitarian conception of the rule of law. Official behavior is to be governed by preexisting, public rules that do not draw irrelevant distinctions between the subjects of law. If these demands are satisfied, a state achieves vertical equality between officials and ordinary people and horizontal legal equality among ordinary people.
While Autonomous Weapons Systems have obvious military advantages, there are prima facie moral objections to using them. By way of general reply to these objections, I point out similarities between the structure of law and morality on the one hand and of automata on the other. I argue that these, plus the fact that automata can be designed to lack the biases and other failings of humans, require us to automate the formulation, administration, and enforcement of law as much as (...) possible, including the elements of law and morality that are operated by combatants in war. I suggest that, ethically speaking, deploying a legally competent robot in some legally regulated realm is not much different from deploying a more or less well-armed, vulnerable, obedient, or morally discerning soldier or general into battle, a police officer onto patrol, or a lawyer or judge into a trial. All feature automaticity in the sense of deputation to an agent we do not then directly control. Such relations are well understood and well-regulated in morality and law; so there is not much challenging philosophically in having robots be some of these agents — excepting the implications of the limits of robot technology at a given time for responsible deputation. I then consider this proposal in light of the differences between two conceptions of law. These are distinguished by whether each conception sees law as unambiguous rules inherently uncontroversial in each application; and I consider the prospects for robotizing law on each. Likewise for the prospects of robotizing moral theorizing and moral decision-making. Finally I identify certain elements of law and morality, noted by the philosopher Immanuel Kant, which robots can participate in only upon being able to set ends and emotionally invest in their attainment. One conclusion is that while affectless autonomous devices might be fit to rule us, they would not be fit to vote with us. For voting is a process for summing felt preferences, and affectless devices would have none to weigh into the sum. Since they don't care which outcomes obtain, they don't get to vote on which ones to bring about. (shrink)
This is a short introduction to a book symposium on Paul Gowder's recent book, _The Rule of Law in thee Real World_ (Cambridge University Press, 2016). The book symposium will appear in the St. Luis University Law Journal, 62 St. Louis U. L.J., -- (2018), with commentaries on Gowder's book by colleen Murphy, Robin West, Chad Flanders, and Matthew Lister, along with replies by Paul Gowder.
What is objectivity? What is the rule of law? Are the operations of legal systems objective? If so, in what ways and to what degrees are they objective? Does anything of importance depend on the objectivity of law? These are some of the principal questions addressed by Matthew H. Kramer in this lucid and wide-ranging study that introduces readers to vital areas of philosophical enquiry. As Kramer shows, objectivity and the rule of law are complicated phenomena, each comprising (...) a number of distinct though overlapping dimensions. Although the connections between objectivity and the rule of law are intimate, they are also densely multi-faceted. (shrink)
My goal in this paper is to argue that the principled approach to hearsay is consistent with the rule of law. I begin by contrasting an instrumental conception of the rule of law with a conception that views the rule of law in primarily normative terms. I then turn my attention to a recent criticism of the Supreme Court of Canada’s principled approach to hearsay and suggest that if Michael Oakeshott’s normative interpretation of the rule of (...) law is adopted, there is no tension between the principled approach to hearsay and the rule of law. (shrink)
At the core of republican thought, on Philip Pettit’s account, lies the conception of freedom as non-domination, as opposed to freedom as noninterference in the liberal sense. I revisit the distinction between liberal and republican freedom and argue that republican freedom incorporates a particular rule-of-law requirement, whereas liberal freedom does not. Liberals may also endorse such a requirement, but not as part of their conception of freedom itself. I offer a formal analysis of this rule-of-law requirement and compare (...) liberal and republican freedom on its basis. While I agree with Pettit that republican freedom has broader implications than liberal freedom, I conclude that we face a trade-off between two dimensions of freedom (scope and robustness) and that it is harder for republicans to solve that trade-off than it is for liberals. Key Words: freedom • republicanism • liberalism • noninterference • non-domination • rule of law • robustness • liberal paradox. (shrink)
The border is an area where the rule of law has often found difficulty taking root, existing as law-free zones characterized by largely unbounded legal and administrative discretion. In his important new book, The Rule of Law in the Real World, Paul Gowder deftly combines historical examples, formal models, legal analysis, and philosophical theory to provide a novel and compelling account of the rule of law. In this paper I consider whether the account Gowder offers can provide (...) the tools needed to bring the border under the rule of law. I argue that on Gowder’s account, there are two ways in which we might try to extend the rule of law to the border.The first is to look at concrete connections that current citizens or members of the political community have with non-citizens. Just as the interests of current citizens give them strong reasons to coordinate to establish the rule of law in their own community, so may the interests of current members in connections with nonmembers give them reason to work to extend the rule of law to the border. These interests can include family ties, other forms of personal relationships, offers of employment, intellectual connections, and others. Some of these connections already serve to give greater legal protections, including protections from arbitrary decision-making, to some non-citizens, and the general trend, I argue, can and should be further strengthened The second method for extending the rule of law to the border involves appealing to certain universal norms so as to build a sense of community that stretches beyond borders. While these norms are not as robust or well established as domestic law, and therefore are unlikely to extend all of the protections of the rule of law to all people at the border, they can, I argues, be a basis for working against the worst arbitrary actions by border officials. I conclude by considering the vexed dispute about providing “amnesty” for unauthorized immigrants in the United States and other countries. I argues that Gowder’s account of the amnesty provided to supporters of the oligarchic coups in ancient Athens provides a model for thinking about when and how amnesties for unauthorized migrants can be done without offending the rule of law, thereby making them more palatable to current citizens. (Please download this paper for free from SSRN on the link provided on this page). (shrink)
If the criminal trial is aimed simply at ascertaining the truth of a criminal charge, it is inherently problematic to prevent the prosecution from adducing relevant evidence on the ground of its unlawful provenance. This article challenges the starting premise by replacing the epistemic focus with a political perspective. It offers a normative justification for the exclusion of unlawfully obtained evidence that is rooted in a theory of the criminal trial as a process of holding the executive to the (...) class='Hi'>rule of law. On this theory, it is the admission rather than exclusion of such evidence that is inherently problematic. The differences between this theory and others that are in currency will be noted, as will its implications and limitations. (shrink)
No community fully achieves the ideal of the rule of law. Puzzles about the content of the ideal seem to make it necessarily unattainable (and, therefore, an incoherent ideal). Legal systems necessarily contain vague laws. They typically allow for change in the law, they typically provide for unreviewable official decisions, and they never regulate every aspect of the life of a community. It may seem that the ideal can never be achieved because of these features of legal practice. But (...) I ask what counts as a ‘deficit’ in the rule of law, and I argue that none of these features of legal practice necessarily amounts to a deficit. I conclude that communities fail to achieve the rule of law only because of official infidelity to law, and the failure of lawmakers to pursue the ideal (or their decision not to pursue it). The rule of law is not necessarily unattainable. (shrink)
Nir Eisikovits argues in A Theory of Truces that most contemporary conflicts wind down in a much more piecemeal fashion than our theorizing about the morality of ending wars suggests. Pauses in violence are achieved by securing agreement on narrow questions. Moreover, rather than hoping to do away with violence, theorizing would do best, he writes, to take as its starting point the fact of warfare as part of the human condition. Eisikovits aims to articulate the features of truce thinking, (...) a framework that is more descriptively accurate and normatively useful in navigating contemporary conflicts and promoting reconciliation. After summarizing his view, I argue that Eisikovits’ explanation of the contribution of truces to political reconciliation is too narrow; contrary to what he claims, truces can make an important contribution to the rule of law. I also challenge Eisikovits’ characterization of the first feature of truce thinking. I argue that while there is an important present focus on immediate benefits from temporary measures, the future looms much larger than Eisikovits recognizes. Truces matter not only for what they make possible now, but also for their ramifications for prospects for future peace. These ramifications go beyond creating conditions for hope or optimism. (shrink)
This provocative book outlines a powerful and original theory of liberty structured by the liberal conception of justice and the rule of law. Drawing on insights from philosophy, political theory, economics, and law, he shows how this new conception of liberty can confront, and solve, the central societal problems of knowledge, interest, and power.
This provocative book outlines a powerful and original theory of liberty structured by the liberal conception of justice and the rule of law. Drawing on insights from philosophy, political theory, economics, and law, he shows how this new conception of liberty can confront, and solve, the central societal problems of knowledge, interest, and power.
The article reviews several books on the rule of law, including "International Justice in Rwanda and the Balkans: Virtual Trials and the Struggle for State Cooperation," by Victor A. Peskin, "Civil War and the Rule of Law: Security, Development, Human Rights," edited by Agnes Hurwitz and Reyko Huang, and "Plunder: When the Rule of Law Is Illegal," by Ugo Mattei and Laura Nader.
In this provocative and engaging new book, Randy Barnett outlines a powerful and original theory of liberty structured by the liberal conception of justice and the rule of law. Drawing on insights from philosophy, political theory, economics, and law, he shows how this new conception of liberty can confront, and solve, the central societal problems of knowledge, interest, and power.
A commitment to the rule of law is a commitment to the governance of a society through the use of general or generalisable rules which are binding on both the subjects and the rulers. By giving due notice of the rules and of any changes to them, those who are subject to the law are protected from violence and enabled to act as agents. This is the essential contribution the rule of law makes to important human goods including (...) freedom. Such an understanding of the rule of law illuminates why the law-like character of God and the revelation of God’s law make human free will meaningful and a relationship of love between God and human beings possible. A commitment to the rule of law also means that those exercising power have to offer justifications to explain why the rules are binding, which opens up space for debate about whether the rules are just. (shrink)
Purpose of this article is to assess the validity of the Razian conception of the rule of law by subjecting it to the acid test of Michel Troper's 'realist theory of interpretation'. The author argues that, in light of the Wittgensteinian view of rule-following, a serious indeterminacy can be seen as inherent in both this conception of the rule of law and Troper's theory of interpretation.
Social life is changing very fast. People are trying to find out reasons of living in a safe society and understand their role in it. The ‘wrong’ and ‘right‘ models of the social life, state and law systems are appearing. In the XXth century, one of them – socialism – made suggestion how to solve social problems, determinated of capitalism. This work deals with the situation of Lithuanian social thought in the Republic of Lithuania (1900-1940). In the article, the standpoint (...) of catholics of socialism is reflected. Catholics displayed socialism as a system, which accumulated many distorted images about human nature, motivations of human behavior, society and its functionating. Considering the society being an organic totality of individuals, but not a faceless mass, and an individual being a personality having natural rights to be respected, but not considered as a little screw without any rights in the state machine, with whom any experiments may be performed, they disclosed Utopia of the idea, proposed by socialists, of the possibility of a perfect society creation by the only preliminarily arranged correct plan,. For this purpose to be achieved, they constructed a model of socialist economy and then destroyed it, demonstrating economical unefficiency of this system. In this manner, intellectuals warned Lithuania and its people about the destructiveness of the realization of such an experiment. In spite of criticism of socialism, some intellectuals, such as A. Maceina, S. Šultė and S. Šalkauskis, appeared to be rather respective to the new social ideas and did not distinguish any social economic system as the best and only one. They thought that all the world, including Lithuania, has to create a new social life and take as a base the progressive ideas of socialism and capitalism. According to the opinion of the catholics, the most reliable way to a safe sočiety and economical welfare passes through the cooperation of individuals and state’s duty to create right laws. Ideological spirit was the main obstacle for the intellectuals to recognize trends of socialism by their aims and methods. That is the reason, why socialism was identified as bolsevism. However, the expression of the intellectuals’ opinion about socialism, its ideological herritage and perspectives enriches the research of the Lithuanian legal phylosophical and political thought and allows to understand better the ideological development of socialism and to define its competence and limits of validity in the contemporary world. Valuable ideas may be fruitfully used in creating a democratic society, social state and the rule of law. (shrink)
This paper addresses the problem of the strategies and theories of democratic participation in Nigeria that breed institutional marginality and bad governance due to shortfalls in pursuing the values of justice and empowerment as core democratic characteristics. The same democratic principles such as voting, parliament, constitution, judiciary, that are suggestive of gains such as responsible use, and peaceful transfer of power may not have translated fully into sociopolitical empowerment for responsibility and representation in evolving democratic practice in Nigeria due to (...) problems of agency and political ideology. Democratic theorizing and participation in Nigeria has defied orthodox presuppositions seen in the disrespect for basic rights and the disregard for the rule of law in democracy that allow for fair play within and among the elites and political grassroots. Thus this study investigates the Nigerian predicament as a model or case study, raising questions about the reasons for the systematic disempowerment of groups. (shrink)
I discuss why one critical aspect of the process of political reconciliation involves the restoration of mutual respect for the rule of law and suggest that psychological research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) provides valuable resources for understanding how successfully to restore such mutual respect.
In The Rule of Law in the Real World, Paul Gowder defends a new conception of the rule of law as the coordinated control of power and demonstrates that the rule of law, thus understood, creates and preserves social equality in a state. In a highly engaging, interdisciplinary text that moves seamlessly from theory to reality, using examples ranging from Ancient Greece through the present, Gowder sheds light on how societies have achieved the rule of law, (...) how they have sustained it in the face of political upheaval, and how it may be measured and developed in the future. The Rule of Law in the Real World is an essential work for scholars, students, policymakers, and anyone else who believes the rule of law is critical to the proper functioning of society. (shrink)
A perennial puzzle about source-based law such as precedent is what makes sources legally binding. One of the most influential answers to this puzzle is provided by Hart’s rule of recognition. According to Hart, the sources of law are accepted as binding by the officials of a legal system, and this collective social practice of officials provides the foundations for a legal system. According to Hart, the rule of recognition differs fundamentally from other legal rules in three ways: (...) (1) the grounds on which it is accepted; (2) the basis for its system-membership; and (3) its mode of existence. This paper argues that (1) is mistaken, and that (2) and (3) do not in fact make the rule of recognition fundamentally different to other legal rules in the way that Hart supposed. Instead, the rule of recognition is a form of customary law in foro whose existence is practice-dependent, but which is nonetheless legally binding and legally valid as other laws are. The foundations of a legal system do not lie in the acceptance of the ultimate sources of law, but in the acceptance of the system as a whole. (shrink)
An interesting fact about customary international law is that the only way you can propose an amendment to it is by breaking it. How can that be differentiated from plain law-breaking? What moral standards might apply to that sort of international conduct? I propose we use ones analogous to the ordinary standards for distinguishing civil disobedients from ordinary law-breakers: would-be law-makers, like civil disobedients, must break the law openly; they must accept the legal consequences of doing so; and they must (...) be prepared to have the same rules applied to them as everyone else. (shrink)
The main goal of this article is to analyse the current status of the precautionary principle in international law and outline the tendencies of its development into a rule of customary law. The methods of comparative and systematic analysis were used in this paper. The article concludes that there is sufficient state practice and opinio iuris to support the position of the European Communities that the precautionary principle has already crystallized into a general customary rule. Evidence may be (...) found in international legally binding and non-binding documents, domestic law, and the jurisprudence of national and international courts and tribunals. (shrink)
This book discusses theories of legal reasoning and provides an overall view of the rhetoric of legal justification. It shows how and why lawyers arguments can be rationally persuasive even though rarely, if ever, logically conclusive or compelling. It examines the role of "legal syllogism" and universality of legal reasoning, looking at arguments of consequentialism and principle, and concludes by questioning the infallibility of judges as lawmakers.
Both corporate and global governance seem to demand increasingly sophisticated means for identification. Supposedly justified by an appeal to security threats, fraud and abuse, citizens are screened, located, detected and their data stored, aggregated and analysed. At the same time potential customers are profiled to detect their habits and preferences in order to provide for targeted services. Both industry and the European Commission are investing huge sums of money into what they call Ambient Intelligence and the creation of an ‘Internet (...) of Things’. Such intelligent networked environments will entirely depend on real time monitoring and real time profiling, resulting in real time adaptation of the environment. In this contribution the author will assess the threats and opportunities of such autonomic profiling in terms of its impact on individual autonomy and refined discrimination and indicate the extent to which traditional data protection is effective as regards profiling. (shrink)
It is often argued that the rule of law is only instrumentally morally valuable, valuable when and to the extent that a legal system is used to purse morally valuable ends. In this paper, I defend Lon Fuller’s view that the rule of law has conditional non-instrumental as well as instrumental moral value. I argue, along Fullerian lines, that the rule of law is conditionally non-instrumentally valuable in virtue of the way a legal system structures political relationships. (...) The rule of law specifies a set of requirements which lawmakers must respect if they are to govern legally. As such, the rule of law restricts the illegal or extra-legal use of power. When a society rules by law, there are clear rules articulating the behavior appropriate for citizens and officials. Such rules ideally determine the particular contours political relationships will take. When the requirements of the rule of law are respected, the political relationships structured by the legal system constitutively express the moral values of reciprocity and respect for autonomy. The rule of law is instrumentally valuable, I argue, because in practice the rule of law limits the kind of injustice which governments pursue. There is in practice a deeper connection between ruling by law and the pursuit of moral ends than advocates of the standard view recognize. The next part of this paper outlines Lon Fuller’s conception of the rule of law and his explanation of its moral value. The third.. (shrink)
A broad range of scholars contend that the rule of law is indifferent to human rights. I call this view the "no-rights thesis," and attempt to unsettle it. My argument draws on the work of Lon L. Fuller and begins with the idea that the fundamental justification of the rule of law rests on a juridical conception of human agency, one that finds expression in the legal and moral claims that can arise from human agency within the context (...) of legal relationships. I argue that the state and its legal subjects are in a particular kind of legal relationship with one another, a fiduciary relationship, and that the content of the state's ensuing fiduciary obligation is the rule of law. Because the rule of law is intelligible in terms of the right, and independently of the good, it follows that compliance with the rule of law necessarily makes a moral difference regardless of how poorly the state lives up to the demands of the good. This is a conceptual rather than an empirical claim, and it leads to the conclusion that respect for human agency in the context of the state-subject fiduciary relationship necessarily entails respect for human dignity, respect for human dignity entails respect for human rights, and therefore a commitment to the rule of law entails a commitment to human rights. (shrink)
HLA Hart and Joseph Raz are usually interpreted as being fundamentally opposed to Lon Fuller’s argument in The Morality of Law that the principles of the rule of law are of moral value. Hart and Raz are thought to make the ‘instrumental objection’, which says that these principles are of no moral value because they are actually principles derived from reflection on how to best allow the law to guide behaviour. Recently, many theorists have come to Fuller’s defence against (...) Hart and Raz, refuting the ‘instrumental objection’ and affirming the non-instrumental moral value of conformity to the principles of legality. This article argues that although this moral value should be affirmed, the orthodox view is incorrect, because Hart and Raz never understood their arguments about the instrumental or ‘purposive’ value of the principles of legality as denials of their moral value, as a close reading of their work shows. (shrink)
The paper is an investigation offazhi (rule of law) in China. The studyproposes a tentative semiotic framework for theinterpretation of the rule of law as a legalconcept to be applied to China in the light ofits recent incorporation into the ChineseConstitution. The paper argues that legalconcepts such as the rule of law are triadic innature and their constituents are relative,relational and contextual in the semioticinterpretative process. The study examines howthe concept can be explicated with the thin orformal (...) theory of the rule of law as a frame ofreference, and how the semiotic model maycontribute to the understanding of the Chineserule of law or the lack thereof. This approachalso attempts to account for the gap betweenthe legal ideal and reality in China andcanvasses cross-cultural considerations. In thefirst part of the paper, a semiotic frameworkfor legal concepts is postulated forconstructing the meaning of the rule of law,followed by its application to contemporaryChina. (shrink)
The article concerns the actual impact of courts controlling the activity of public administration on the direction of its activities and the content of issued decisions. In particular, it concerns sovereign individual decisions that affect the sphere of civil rights and freedoms. The aim of the article is to seek an answer to the question of whether independent judges actually participate in the process of management in the public sphere, which is characterised by elements of politics and whether such participation (...) is allowed or necessary in modern rule of law states. The main argument is that regardless of whether the courts controlling the administration have reformatory or exclusive cassation powers, they influence the decision-making process in the public sphere. At the same time, such influence not only does not violate the fundamental values of the rule of law, but is even sometimes necessary. This does not mean that courts should interfere in the management processes in the public sphere in every case. (shrink)
The author considers, first of all, recent and fairly recent interpretations of Plato’s dialogue the Crito, arguing that the character Socrates, whose expressed ideas probably correspond in major detail to the convictions of the historical Socrates, is not saying that the laws of Athens demand unquestioning obedience. The dialogue is rather an account of the debate that goes on in Socrates’s mind itself. A strong consideration in this debate is clearly the rule of law; but equally strong is Socrates’s (...) lifelong commitment to carry out what, in the end, he regards as the most reasonable course of action. The author then considers two contemporary ethical issues: our way of coming to know the natural law and the proper understanding of laws that allow of exceptions. Regarding the first, he argues—consistently with what we find not only in the Crito but also in Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas—that we come to know the natural law through being immersed in the laws and customs of a particular society: the more just the society, the better access to the natural law it provides. Regarding the second, he argues that an article in Aquinas is sometimes interpreted as suggesting that the realm of concrete human experience is beyond the reach of law. He argues, in the spirit of the historical Socrates, that the rule of law is equivalent to the rule of reason and that this does reach into the realm of concrete human experience, where exceptions are sometimes recognized as contained in the law. (shrink)
Passages in Aristotle’s Politics Book 3 are cited in discussions of the “rule of law”, most particularly sections in 1287a where the famous characterization of law as “mind without desire” occurs and in 1286a where Aristotle raises and explores the question whether it is better to be ruled by the best man or the best laws. My paper aims, by exegetically culling out Aristotle’s position in the Politics, Nicomachean Ethics and Rhetoric, to argue that his view on the (...) class='Hi'>rule of law and its relations to human subjects is considerably more complex and considerably more interesting. Despite Aristotle’s dictum, laws are not expressions or institutions of a pure and passionless rationality, and in order to be framed, understood and administered well, one must both have the sort of solid understanding of virtues, vices, passions, and motives of human action that Aristotle’s moral philosophy provides and have developed, at least to some degree, certain virtues. My paper focuses particularly on three themes: the role of the passions and desires in judgment, action, virtues and vices; the inescapability of passions and desires in the functioning of law; the possibility for rule of law and a certain level of virtue to be mutually supporting. (shrink)
The thesis that propositions of law are intrinsically arguable is opposed by the antithesis that the Rule of Law is valued for the sake of legal certainty. The synthesis considers the insights of theories of rhetoric and proceduralist theories of practical reason, then locates the problem of indeterminacy of law in the context of the challengeable character of governmental action under free governments. This is not incompatible with, but required by the Rule of Law, which is misstated as (...) securing legal certainty. Defeasible certainty is the most that is desirable or achievable. (shrink)
Corruption is a major problem in many of the world’s developing economies today. World Bank studies put bribery at over $1 trillion per year accounting for up to 12 of the GDP of nations like Nigeria, Kenya and Venezuela. Though largely ignored for many years, interest in world wide corruption has been rekindled by recent corporate scandals in the US and Europe. Corruption in the developing nations is said to result from a number of factors. Mass poverty has been cited (...) as a facilitating condition for corruption just as an inability to manage a sudden upsurge in mineral revenues has been credited with breeding corruption and adventurous government procurement among public officials in countries like Nigeria and Venezuela. Virtually all developing nations that have serious corruption problems also have very limited economic freedom and a very weak enforcement of the rule of law. In such nations, corruption represents a regressive taxation that bears hard on the poor. It has a dampening effect on development and it could result in the production of inferior goods as companies find ways to accommodate under-the-table payments. Finally, corruption is a dangerous threat to the legitimacy of the governments of some of the developing nations themselves. It is suggested that new urgent initiatives are needed to deal with the dangers posed by corruption in the developing economies. They include making the economies of these nations more open by the withdrawal of the government from the productive sector and by the abolition of unnecessarily stringent restrictions on business conduct. The rule of law needs to be strengthened in these nations and those countries like Nigeria and Venezuela should ignore scruples over sovereignty and seek foreign assistance in the management of their oil wealth. Finally, multinationals should be made to disclose all the payments they make in developing nations to such organizations like International Chamber of Commerce or Transparency International where they can be reviewed by anyone interested. (shrink)
The norms governing EU sovereign debt conditionality in ‘debtor states’ significantly trouble the Rule of Law. My analysis addresses this central, yet to date ignored, Rule of Law challenge created by the EU economic crisis. I contrast my specific approach with two other Rule of Law strands in current EU scholarship and develop it by placing it within relevant broader literatures on rule of law and emergency. Drawing particularly on Fuller and Waldron, this produces a formal (...) and procedural Rule of Law critique embracing both attributes of the norms themselves and challenges to those norms before the Court of Justice and the European Ombudsman. The managerialism manifested in bailout governance departs from the foundational commitments inherent in both Law and New Governance. (shrink)
The idea of the rule of law is central in the European Union’s conception of itself, and stands as one of the most important political criteria of the enlargement process. Some clarification of this core concept is essential if it is to play a meaningful role in enlargement and, indeed, if we are able to make a judgement about whether the criterion is substantive or merely rhetorical. In other words, what purpose must the rule of law serve within (...) a state, beyond the rather trite beliefs that the law rather than individuals rule, and that no one is above the law, if a state is to be admitted to the European Union of states? I want to suggest that its principal purpose has been to guard against arbitrary rule, and if the rule of law is to be a substantive criterion for expansion of the European Union it must be cognizant of what the criterion entails, and face up to the implications for admitting states with cultures where the rule of law has not featured significantly in their political and social landscapes. The article looks at one of the most sophisticated attempts to delineate the ideal character of the rule of law in recent philosophy, namely that of Michael Oakeshott, to clarify the meaning that it has in its use in modern European history and in relation to the modern European state. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that different understandings of the requirements of the Rule of Law can to a large extent be explained by the position taken with regard to two interrelated distinctions. On the one hand, the Rule of Law can be regarded as either a principle of law or as a principle of governance. On the other hand, the requirements of the Rule of Law can be regarded as defining either a minimum standard which (...) something has to meet in order to be law or as an aspirational standard identifying what it means to be good law. In combination these two distinctions define a range of perspectives on the nature of the Rule of Law that are complementary rather than mutually exclusive. (shrink)
The modern lawyer operates within a conception of law as a body of rules. To confront the law of contract, of torts, or of property, is to familiarize oneself with an intricate set of rules. Such familiarity is not yet legal scholarship, much less legal practice. For in order to use the rules as lawyers use them, the rules must be contemplated and considered, and the relationship between the different rules must be understood. Because the intellectual processes involved in handling (...) the rules exhibit a high degree of sophistication, those intellectual processes may themselves become the subject matter of philosophical argument. Thus we may regard jurisprudential theories as embodying differing understandings of the processes of handling legal rules; and we may conceive of legal theory as the attempt to grasp the moral significance of rules as a foundation for social order. This essay shall offer some thoughts on the relationship between the rule of law, considered as a moral ideal, and the notion of rules as the principal means by which legal order is manifested. (shrink)
This article tackles two issues: the nature of law's judgment and what, if anything, might be said in its favour. As to the first issue, the article reminds lawyers of the obvious, namely, that law's judgment is abstract, elucidating both what this entails and why it may be thought problematic. The main burden of the article is to consider what might be said in favour of law's abstract judgment. Only one family of arguments, part of a wider but still not (...) all-encompassing class, are considered here: arguments from the rule of law ideal. Three different arguments from the rule of law are examined, the conclusion being that two of three cannot provide unproblematic and unambiguous support for law's abstract judgment. (shrink)
Hong Kong’s adherence to the rule of law has been widely understood as one of its “core values.” As such, it has been understood as an institution necessary for good governance and a check against the abuse of governmental power as well as a feature that differentiates Hong Kong’s system of governance from other parts of China. At the same time, intervening issues of immigration and of constitutional interpretation have begun to challenge this perception. This paper argues that a (...) recent landmark decision involving the right to permanent residence has served to weaken the rule of law in Hong Kong. It has further highlighted a lack of commitment by the judiciary to either human rights claims or equal treatment under the law. (shrink)
This review article considers two publications concerning the Law Commissions created under the Law Commissions Act 1965: Fifty Years of the Law Commissions: The Dynamics of Law Reform, a collection of essays edited by Dyson, Lee and Wilson Stark, and Wilson Stark’s monograph, The Work of the British Law Commissions: Law Reform … Now? The writers demonstrate how the Commissions’ law reform work has made a unique contribution to the improved operation of the legal system and how they must continue (...) to adapt to changes in the constitutional arrangements within which they discharge their statutory duties. The review article focuses on key issues identified in Wilson Stark’s separate study—codification, project selection and legislative implementation, and the scope of judicial law reform. Attention is also drawn to the need for the Commissions to have effective capacity to discharge their rule of law function by promoting fair, intelligible, accessible and up-to-date law. (shrink)
No community fully achieves the ideal of the rule of law. Puzzles about the content of the ideal seem to make it necessarily unattainable (and, therefore, an incoherent ideal). Legal systems necessarily contain vague laws. They typically allow for change in the law, they typically provide for unreviewable official decisions, and they never regulate every aspect of the life of a community. It may seem that the ideal can never be achieved because of these features of legal practice. But (...) I ask what counts as a 'deficit' in the rule of law, and I argue that none of these features of legal practice necessarily amounts to a deficit. I conclude that communities fail to achieve the rule of law only because of official infidelity to law, and the failure of lawmakers to pursue the ideal (or their decision not to pursue it). The rule of law is not necessarily unattainable. (shrink)
The Devlin Commission Report of 1959 on the handling of the emergency in Nyasaland (Malawi) was unique in British colonial history. On no other occasion was a commission, chaired by a British judge, established to consider generally the response of a colonial government to a problem of law and order. Though now remembered mainly as an incident in decolonization, the report has a special legal significance in that it addresses the perennial problem of the relationship between respect for the (...) class='Hi'>rule of law and the supposed need to suppress an insurrectionary movement. Documents now available make it possible to give a full account of the work of the commission, and of the processes whereby the text was modified so as to downplay Devlin's desire to publish a report which squarely faced this problem. The suppressed passages in the draft report are here published for the first time. (shrink)