Talk:Rule of law

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This page needs work[edit]

I thought that there would be something useful on this page, but in fact it needs quite a lot of work to make it a useful resource. I cannot claim to be an authority and so I would not like to edit it but I think there should be clearer links to the historical emergence of the concept. Magna Carta is not even mentioned and there should be some summary of historical and current issues about abuses of the concept.

Sorry just to be critical, but I have to move on.

Anotherstuart 12:06, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Anotherstuart. This article definitely needs to be cleaned up and re-writen to sound like a single consistently encyclopedia article. For example, I've always understood the 'rule of law' to include three elements: generalizability, universability, and predictibility. The article seems not to make this clear. {rfc} perhaps? N2e 22:36, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes, this article does need a complete rewrite. It flounders as so many do without ever actually landing on the concise and clear definition of the term. The best definition I have ever seen has been around since at least the 1930's when Frederich Hayek, an economist, published it in his now classic book _The Road to Serfdom_.

"NOTHING distinguishes more clearly a free country from a country under arbitrary government than the observance in the former of the great principles known as the Rule of Law. Stripped of technicalities, this means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand."

I suggest that this definition be at the core of the article, with historical support reframed around the actual definition rather than using the current approach which keeps missing the target. Studious272 (talk) 13:59, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Called for a cleanup[edit]

This article sounds like it was written by many different people (obvoiusly that's because it actually was written by several people-still, the goal of an article is to make it sound uniform and logical, right?). Parts of it, such as the criticism sections, are very poorly written. The most egregious aspect of this article is that it has one section called "criticism" and one called "critiques," one of which is so short that it's actually containede in the other section. That's pretty darn bad.

--I agree - perhaps what this shows is how the rule of law is interpreted in different ways in various countries- USA and UK fpr example. In England and Wales we talk about, nobody being above the law, the law applying to all equally, the law being applied equally. The idea of judicial precedent the hierachy of the courts help to enforce the rule of law. Obviously the apparent flexibility of the rule has led to systematic abuse in all so called 'democratic and non-demorcratic states'. Alex

clairifactions por favor[edit]

In the section on Chinese interpretation of the rule of law the page states that the communist regiem takes the stance they the gov rules "by law" instead of "of law". This I feel is an important distinction and needs to be claified. Im having trouble making a distinction between any government making laws of any kind that restrict the free movement of peoples and a system where there is a lack of "rule of law". A monarchy can make a new law that taxes water wells. The king might be taxed since he has a water well. A totalitarian gov may pass a law removing all Jews to labor camps. Would not the Arian germans be also subject to the "rule of law"

 I guess that I just dont understand the benefits of 'the rule of law", beyond a 18th century european monarchy.

Very good point. I guess the current work does miss something, which to people in common law countries might be common but not to people in "rule by law" countries. From what I learnt in university, "rule of law" does include the concept of the purpose of law which is distincted from the concept the law is a tool to govern the country and to manage people. By saying that, I have asked couple of lawyers from China what is the purpose of the law. They all answered me the law is the tool to govern the country and to manage society orderly, and everyone include the government supposed to be equal in front of law. So, is that a "rule of law"? They are talking about no one is immune to law too. What is the distinction then? Dayten (talk) 14:26, 31 December 2010 (UTC)


I am removing the following line from the main article:

  In Canada the Rule of Law is equated with the Supremacy of God, per the preamble to its Constitution Act of 1982

While the preamble to the Charter indeed states:

  Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law

I fail to see how the two are equated. The fact that both are used as founding principles doesn't entail that there is any equivalence among them. E.g., I might recognize both the supremacy of God and the blueness of the sky, but this doesn't mean that I equate the blueness of the sky with the supremacy of God. Not explicitly distinguishing between the two doesn't necessarily entail any similarity, whatsoever, between them. 01:55, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

The user who added this absurd statement ( is a repeat vandal on a variety of canadian/religion/monarchy pages using similar pseudo-logic. Every other contribution he has made has been reverted, this is thankfully no exception. -- abfackeln 11:29, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Double Jeopardy[edit]

We are told in the article that the concept "rule of law" is generally associated with several other concepts such as Double Jeopardy. ie “Individuals may only be punished once for every specific crime committed.” Two questions: According to the definition offered, what does this mean? That a doctor convicted of performing an illegal operation can either be fined or have his licence taken away but can’t be fined and have his licence taken away. Or does it mean that he can be convicted and jailed for five years today, but after the five years are up he can’t be jailed for another five years? How could that be a problem anyway as all crimes have fixed maximum sentences and the total he would eventually serve could still never exceed the maximum? Secondly, whatever the answer is, what does double jeopardy have to do with the rule of law and the illegitimacy of arbitrary government? Edward Carson 22:40, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

The reason is that a ban on double jeopardy prevents a would-be dictator from repeatedly locking up his opponents for the same minor trumped-up crimes. It also creates an basic expectation of fairness, in that people come to trust that even if they are convicted of a crime, they will have to serve time for it only once, and not get "surprised" at the end of their sentence with a new one! The point is to create trust in the government and civil servants so that people will behave lawfully in the presence of government officers and vice versa. Double jeopardy is just one piece of many other pieces that come together to create such trust and make the rule of law work. --Coolcaesar 06:04, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Double Jeopardy is a prosecutorial bar stemming from the 5th amendment and it only applies to criminal prosecutions. So your question about the doctor being fined and losing a license isn't necesarrily apt because revocation of a license isn't necesarrily a result of criminal prosecutions. What the 5th amendment does do is prevent a defendant who has been convicted, acquitted, or been punished from being tried again or punished again for the same or a substantially similar charge/set of facts. A leading case is 369 U.S. 141, Foo Fong v United States. The two major exceptions are: a state can prosecute a defendant that the federal government failed to convict, or vice versa, and where there were cases where a judge was bribed or something crazy like that, a defendant can be retried. There is also no double jeopardy bar between criminal and civil prosecutions. For example, a white supremacist cop kills an African American. Let's say for whatever reason he is acquitted on a murder charge, he can still be prosecuted for violating the victim's civil rights. One charge is a criminal prosecution the other is a civil charge. Also sentencing guidelines are not necesarrily binding on judges either, in some states they are binding, in others they are merely advisory. I'm not sure of the exact origins of the American rule against double jeopardy but I imagine it has something to do with the King repeatedly prosecuting his enemies arbitrarily during the colonial period. Gardiangel 04:37, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Coolcaesar, I don’t think there’s any historical evidence of a people being punished twice for the same crime where double jeopardy in law doesn’t exist. It’s generally there to stop someone acquitted from being tried again. GardiAngel, Whatever the alleged virtues of Double Jeopardy you haven’t really given reasons why it is relevant to the rule of law. It just seems the original writer of this article wanted to add some of his pet policy beliefs to the list of fundamental pillars of the ‘rule of law’. Why not go further? More fundamental aspects of the rule of law are that the death penalty shall exist for the crime of murder; that legal aid shall be granted to the indigent; that only a simple majority of eleven out of twelve shall be sufficient for a conviction; that no one shall be forced to be a witness against himself; that jurors shall be sequested only in five star hotels with cable TV and room service. Edward Carson (talk) 03:46, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Lord Bingham in intro[edit]

I realize that Lord Bingham is well respected in the world community but his being uniquely quoted in the introduction of this article implies that he is THE authority on the subject. I see no justification for his statement being so prominently featured. At most a passing reference in the intro as a "current event" might be appropriate although even that seems a stretch. There are a couple of others mentioned in the intro less prominently and even these seem inappropriate. Ideally no individual should be mentioned in the intro unless that individual is truly a key figure (e.g. it is reasonable to mention Martin Luther in the intro for the Protestant Reformation).

Is there some particular justification for this? --Mcorazao 19:48, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I removed the quote from 16 November 2006. Wikipedia is not about things done in school court yesterday. -- Petri Krohn 16:34, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
the introduction of LOrd Bingham's views is just a knowledge of the subject and a suggestion. while it need not be mentioned in a detailed way, a brief note is evidence of a good analysis and research. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:48, 8 June 2007

Why Bingham, of all people?![edit]

lolz! m8. Instead of featuring a much-contested outline of the constituent principles of the rule of law, would it not be better to refer to Joseph Raz's principles as detailed in "The Rule of Law and its virtue", mofos? These are generally accepted by the academic community, man. Dey be down (in general) wit' all his shiz, whereas Bingham's point on fundamental rights is rather controversial. Certainly, me and my bruvvas wud prefer an established source. Even dicey's chauvanistic and practically inapplicable alternative would be preferable, dawg. As my main man sez when he returned my last essay, "Yo. Keep it clean. Don't use bingham's definition, it would be much more advisable to adopt Raz, boooyyy!". PEACE OUT LOLZ! (talk) 23:23, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Miranda exclusionary rule[edit]

This is adressed to the user CoolCaeser. There is no such thing as the "Miranda exclusionary rule." The exclusionary rule is a result of the Supreme Court case Mapp v Ohio. The citation for that case is, 367 U.S. 643. Miranda was the application of the exclusionary rule as a remedy to defendant's who have not been advised of certain rights by the police. ~~gardiangel~~

Rule of law index graphic[edit]

The source (not mentioned or directly linked) seems to come from the World Bank, what could be not reliable and could have political bias, since the World Bank is control by a small group of countries. The graphic should come a reliable organization, if not, it should be removed.--ClaudioMB 03:32, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

I would like to second that. Especially tagging the U.S. all dark green even though there were plenty of incidents after 9/11 seems suspicious.

I also agree. The issuance of National Security Letters in secret, the erasure of Habeas Corpus, and the rise of extraordinary rendition, all bought about under the US Patriot Act, indicates that the Rule of Law in the US has been severely weakened since 2001. The data does indeed come from the World Bank, an organisation that has been criticised as "an intrument for the promotion of US and 'Western' interests" [1], so the data particularly for the US and the other Western Nations is potentially biased. The map should be removed. --Retrogradeorbit 08:30, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Recent events in Canada also indicate that Rule of Law has been weakened. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:52, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

This article and, as the best evidence, this graphic are ridiculous propaganda in support of the US/West/Capitalist Economies as "good guys" while governments such as Venezuela are "bad guys" where the "rule of law" is not followed/trusted. It has to be clear, as in other comments above, that the consent of the governed and trust of the law is probably higher in countries like Venezuela and much lower in countries like the US where, even by the definitions in this article, the "rule of law" is practically a shell. For example, by these definitions when agents (like police) are able to commit murder and hardly ever go to jail, certainly there is no "rule of law" as such. This graphic must go, but the whole article should be cleaned up. This is one of the worst articles I've come across on Wikipedia. Salauddesade (talk) 07:05, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

I do not believe that this makes the entire article merit an NPOV tag. Kukini háblame aquí 13:43, 13 May 2008 (UTC)


--Ceridan 23:07, 6 July 2007 (UTC) Sorry, I'm new to discussing on Wikipedia... anyway, I'm just completing university education in the Czech Republic and I attended a few semesters of law theory and politology and I have never heard the term "Rechtsstaat" so far. I think it is kind strange. And this entire article needs a rework. Not that I would feel competent enough to do so :)

No Cases[edit]

Shouldn't there be cases to support the application and judicial development of this doctrine? e.g. Entick v. Carrington? --RawEgg 01:21, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Outdated Map?[edit]

The title of the map says 2005, but the under the map it says 2006. Apart from an update being necessary, the date should be clarified. --Asdirk (talk) 09:52, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

rule of law[edit]

not cool —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yugioh7205 (talkcontribs) 17:23, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Map has no legend/key[edit]

I have no idea what each colour means. Can someone add this on please? (talk) 10:03, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Kick out Bingham...[edit]

Instead of featuring a much-contested outline of the constituent principles of the rule of law, would it not be better to refer to Joseph Raz's principles as detailed in "The Rule of Law and its virtue", mofos? Dey are generally accepted by the academic community, man. Dey be down (in general) wit' all his shiz, whereas Bingham's point on fundamental rights is rather controversial. Certainly, me and my bruvvas wud prefer an established source. Even dicey's chauvanistic and practically inapplicable alternative would be preferable, dawg. As my main man sez when he returned my last essay, "Yo. Keep it clean. Don't use bingham's definition, it would be much more advisable to adopt Raz, boooyyy!" Lost me a lot of marks, man, encouraging others to follow suit - dat ain't right!

- Yo! Dawgz! I'z Lak totally pimp'd your definitions - replaced bingham's conception of the rule of law as expounded in a (lol) speec at (lol) cambridge (oxford, ay!), replacing it with the academic consensus as expounded by Joseph Raz in his bangin' booklet, "The Rule Of Law and its virtue", which was published in a reputable legal and academic journal (LQR). Next time, don't just type "Rule of law" into google! Y'all be trippin' if you think that'll stand up to academic scrutiny. And is even worse, man, totally bangin' nonsense &c. &c.

PEACE OUT LOLZ! (talk) 23:23, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

hahah, i hope everyone reads this. oddly makes sense. LazyMapleSunday (talk) 06:54, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

big shout out for style, a boot in the seat for substance. Rule of law is inherently indeterminate, and the present structure actually conveys that across. There are no definitions for rule of law that are universally accepted, that is the entire point of the rule of law debate. (talk) 15:03, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Tags: Not a single mention of Lon Fuller?[edit]

This article needs a rewrite. THF (talk) 00:45, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

I second that this article needs a rewrite; however, the rewriters must be very careful to acknowledge that corporately (that's a nice way of saying fascist) trained lawyers and academics (such as Raz) do not have a monopoly on the definition of these terms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:36, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Oh yes. The article is currently absolutely rubbish. Shame, such a basic thing should be reasonably well covered. I neither have the time nor skill to write it though... -- (talk) 02:41, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I think that instead of a rewrite, we ought to think about turning this article into a redirect to Law. The rule of law is simply obedience to (or compliance with) Law.Ferrylodge (talk) 22:58, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Not Merge -- I think this concept is stand-alone, as a more detailed unit of law. The law article should have a sub-section on rule of law, but I think that it should be short, and a more expansive definition/discussion should remain separate, much like the other short sub-sections that have links to more detailed and substantive articles about their respective subjects. Hires an editor (talk) 13:38, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
My concern is redundancy. I don't see how the phrase "rule of law" is different from saying "supremacy of law" or "control of law" or "obedience to law." It's kind of like having a Wikipedia article titled "Grand Canyon" plus an additional article titled "Aspects of the Grand Canyon". Would someone please explain why this is not redundant? At the very least, this article needs to begin by explaining why the scope of this article is not identical to the scope of the article on Law. Thanks.Ferrylodge (talk) 15:28, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Here's what Black's Law Dictionary (Fifth Edition, 1979, page 1196) says: "Rule of law. A legal principle, of general application, sanctioned by the recognition of authorities, and usually expressed in the form of a maxim or logical proposition. Called a 'rule,' because in doubtful or unforeseen cases it is a guide or norm for their decision. The rule of law, sometimes called 'the supremacy of law', provides that decisions should be made by the application of known principles or laws without the intervention of discretion in their application." So maybe it's worth a separate article at Wikipedia, but that's not clear from the article as it presently stands.Ferrylodge (talk) 17:21, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
I think that "rule of law" should be contrasted with "rule by fiat" or "dictatorial rule." Laws can exist, but that doesn't mean that the rules/ruler abide by those laws, or that they apply equally. So in the case of this article, it's really more along the lines "types of rule" than "types of law." So we could just as easily put "rule by democracy" and "rule by dictatorship" as "types of rule"...or that the rules are the laws, as opposed to the rules being what the autocrat in charge decides at whatever level they are.
In looking at the Law article, though, "rule of law" is only mentioned in a caption to a picture, but doesn't have anything written about it anywhere else in the article. Hires an editor (talk) 17:00, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

(undent)I removed the merger suggestion back in March. The article has been considerably upgraded since the merger suggestion was made, so I would not favor a merger at this point.[2]Ferrylodge (talk) 18:03, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

More views on the rule of law[edit]

Here, from an older revision, are some more perspectives that seem to have gotten lost along the way. I'm putting them here so that we might reintegrate them. I think it's important because there is no single "correct" version of what the "rule of law" means - instead there are competing conceptions and to best inform the reader he should be able to see a range. I'd suggest that this page would work best if each major theorist was given his/her own section, in chronological order, so that they can all be contrasted. That said, I think this page looks far better, and much neater than before, so that's really good. Wikidea 09:14, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

I disagree. This article already has a section on "DIFFERING INTERPRETATIONS" that categorizes the different interpretations (i.e. substantive, formal, and functional), and it seems more important to inform readers about these broad categories than to list every specimen within each category.
Another section of the article ("STUDIES, RESEARCH, AND SCHOLARLY WORKS") gives a few specific examples of how different people or organizations have interpreted the term "rule of law", and that seems sufficient.
In addition, some of your examples are already included in the "HISTORY" section of this Wikipedia article, e.g. Thomas Paine, John Adams, Aristotle, and Plato. So, I would recommend that you take another look at the article, and reconsider your suggestions. Is a 2006 speech by Lord Bingham of Cornhill really sufficiently notable for a brief encyclopedia article? I do not see that it is, especially not an exceedingly long quote from same. And the map could more appropriately go here. Thanks.Ferrylodge (talk) 14:50, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
On second thought, I guess we may as well include this map, though I'm concerned that it may give undue weight to one interpretation of Rule of Law.Ferrylodge (talk) 15:56, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Status under the US Constitution[edit]

Don't know why this gets special treatment. There should be other sections for other countries. Hires an editor (talk) 17:12, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

I'll work on it over the next couple of days. There is already a lot of material about other countries in this Wikipedia article, but only a separate subsection for the U.S. so I agree it could use some work. But please note that there is a map of the whole world with info on the map about a lot of countries, plus there's discussion of Greece, England, Islam, et cetera, so I don't think a globalize tag is needed right now. Footnote 20 is a dead link, by the way. Anyhow, I'll try to insert further subsections for other countries over the next couple days.Ferrylodge (talk) 17:15, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I've added a section on Asian countries. That seems to provide a good balance. We could cover every country on Earth, but I think Asia and the U.S. provide adequate examples, at least for now.Ferrylodge (talk) 11:22, 6 May 2009 (UTC)


The Wikipedia's definition of "Rule of Law" is not consistant with Wiktionary's definition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:03, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Wikitionary currently says, "the doctrine that no individual is above the law and that everyone must answer to it." That seems consistent with what this Wikipedia article says. Anyway, Wiktionary (like Wikipedia) is not a reliable source.Ferrylodge (talk) 15:23, 6 July 2009 (UTC)


I am not an authority in this field, but I think the subjectivity in the introduction undermines the credibility of the article. The second sentence, "Professor Brian Tamanaha [...]", questions the validity of the concept before it is even defined. Would it not belong to a "Controversy" section?

I also think that a sentence such as "As for The "rule of law" or Rechtsstaat may be a necessary condition for democracy, but it is not a sufficient condition." has no place in an encyclopedia, unless it is duly explained that it is a certain viewpoint, and who has expressed that viewpoint. Again it would belong to the "Controversy" section more than to the introduction.

Bnadon (talk) 00:41, 8 March 2010 (UTC) I was not really happy with the introduction at all, i have changed it some more now, but the fundamental problem is that as there is no general agreement as to what the rule of law actually is the introduction is almost impossible to writeAjbpearce (talk) 01:19, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Rule of Law LL.M. Program[edit]

I included a link to a Rule of Law LL.M. program in the see also and Ajbpearce removed it. This is quite literally the only rule of law ll.m. program in the world, and ought to be linked to this page. It's not advertisement, actual good encylopedic link. (talk) 14:58, 28 April 2010 (UTC) en:Ohio_Northern_University,_Pettit_College_of_Law#Democratic Governance and Rule of Law LL.M.

Roman Law[edit]

although even in ancient Rome the emperor often submitted to the laws by choice.[3]

IMO, the lede should stick to abstact legal principles and not do special pleading for any particular catagory of people. If you look at the source, it's not really about how law abiding the Roman emperors were. It's more like, they would brag profusely whenever they followed the law. Also, the reason for mentioning Roman Law so prominently is that it wasn't just the law for ancient Rome. It was used all over Europe until the Napoleanic Code (1804) and was used in Germany until 1900. Kauffner (talk) 03:26, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Petition of Grievances[edit]

A big blockquote was recently inserted, but it needs better sourcing. I just did a search in Google books for "guided and governed by the certain rule of law" and got no hits prior to the year 1950 even though the quote is supposedly from 1610. (talk) 03:28, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Fixed. (talk) 11:14, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Extra sentence in lede[edit]

I took out this new sentence: "The rule of law also encompasses the idea that the law should consist of general principles and not make special exceptions of particular groups, individuals or residents of particular regions etc." The reason I took it out is because it seems to allege that this idea is common to all of the different interpretations (it's not). Also, I think this idea was already covered in the previous paragraphs. Anyway, according to some interpretations, the law can consist of both general principles as well as more specific commands, as long as the specific commands do not create exceptions to the general principles. (talk) 04:11, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Ancient examples[edit]

A lot of the ancient examples are confusing rule of law with the idea of law. Chinese legalism was designed to give the ruler absolute authority, which certainly isn't rule of law. There was no independent Chinese judiciary, and thus no way to apply the law to the ruler even in theory. That the Medes in the Book of Daniel had some formalities involved in changing the law doesn't mean they had rule of law. Kauffner (talk) 16:55, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Absolute rule and rule of law seem contradictary in the modern context, but was not considered so in antiquity. Plato, mind you, also advocated rule of law and totalitarianism, without a judiciary, under his ideal of the "philosopher king" or enlightened despot (Karl Popper famously blamed Plato for the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century).
If you read Han Fei's text, Han Fei advocated that once a ruler established law, he should not change it, and that it should apply to people of all social classes, which is about as close to the modern idea of rule of law, sans independent judiciary, as Plato and Aristotle advocated. Also, Han Fei did say that officials, instead of princes, should be the ones to implement and carry out laws, which is not an independent judiciary, but close to it for someone living in his time period. Of course, the idea that the ruler should avoid changing laws was never realistically implemented, a la Qin Shi Huang, but that's neither here or there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vivianspilot (talkcontribs) 12:55, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Han Fei's concept of law does match many elements of modern rule of law:
"The law does not fawn on the noble; the plumb-line does not bend to accomodate the crooked"
"If the ruler... alters laws and prohibitions readily and issues commands and orders frequently, then ruin is possible"
"If laws are clearly defined, surperiors will be honored and not enroached upon."
While Han Fei discouraged a ruler from changing laws, he did advocate that ultimately, the ruler had final say in all laws, through excessively draconian means. But, on rule of law, Han Fei's support for despotism isn't much different from Plato's enlightened despotism or Aristotle's constitutional aristocracy. The "rule of law" of Plato and Aristotle is no more modern than that of the Legalists. It would be more accurate to say that Han Fei, Plato, Aristotle, and Shang Yang, advocated "rule by law", an important historical precedent, and that true "rule of law" wasn't established until the Age of Enlightenment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vivianspilot (talkcontribs) 15:23, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

"Rule of law" means that everyone is obligated to submit to the law, but both Han Fei and Plato argued for a ruler with unlimited powers. If you look at the extended version of Aristotle's quote, it's pretty clear that he supports rule of law in the same sense that we are using the phrase. If that's not enough, this book makes the case in detail. In Greek, "aristocracy" means "rule by the best." Aristotle uses the word as a stand-in for whatever the best form of government for a particular society might be; It does not refer to a specific constitutional structure. Bigger than the issue of whether the guy on top is exempt or not is that the phrase "rule of law" implies a worldview in which the law provides protection against arbitrary rule. In Chinese legalism, the state is a vast war machine and limiting its authority is not a concern. The peasants produce food, the army eats it, and no other economic activity is permitted. The Roman Republic had a well-developed legal system, so not everyone in ancient times believed in despotism. Kauffner (talk) 06:05, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Removal from lead[edit]

This edit at 02:41 on 17 March 2011 seems problematic. It removed a lot of sourced material from the lead, beyond what was described in the edit summary, and that material is now nowhere in the article. So, I'm going to revert the article to just prior to that edit, and request further explanation. Thanks.Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:56, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Done. I also started a new subsection for Han Fei, and moved almost all of the Han Fei material to there. It seems like Shang Yang's philosophy was a lot closer to the modern notion of "rule of law" than Han Fei's philosophy, so only Shang Yang is now covered in the section on Antiquity (but Han Fei has a section down further in the article).Anythingyouwant (talk) 01:14, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Shāng Yāng was a chief minister of the Qín state and was much admired by Hán Fēi. They were both legalists, and thus not in disagreement on this issue. Hán Fēi gets a subsection, but the Huang-Lao school is cut? I don't see the logic here. The full quote from Aristotle belongs in the main text since there should be more emphasis on him than on Chinese thinkers who supported absolute monarchy. To say that Aristotle supported an aristocracy that was above the law is just not true, as I already explained above, and as Bates explains in greater detail in the book I linked to. Aristotle describes various forms of government and doesn't explicitly advocate any one of them. But the one that gets the most favorable treatment is "polity", a democracy modified by the requirement that the rule of law must be applied regardless of how the majority might vote, i.e. something like a Bill of Rights. Kauffner (talk) 09:23, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Tamanaha's On the rule of law (2004), which is the first book on rule of law that comes up on Google books, has 15 references to Aristotle, 19 to Dicey, 19 to the Romans, and nothing at all about ancient China. So putting more emphasis on China than on Aristotle is out of step with the way published sources deal with this subject. Kauffner (talk) 13:30, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I inserted the stuff about Huang-Lao into the section on antiquity. There's only one brief paragraph about China in that section, which doesn't seem excessive. Also, as you suggested, I've put the full Aristotle quote into the section on Antiquity.Anythingyouwant (talk) 19:54, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

The emphasis on Shāng Yāng strikes me as idiosyncratic. If you want someone to represent the legalist school, which I do not think is necessary, Hán Fēi is the logical choice. But Mencius, China's "philosopher for the people," would be a better choice than any legalist. The "Antiquity" section is mixes democrats and totalitarians together as one big happy family. This is apparently based on the theory that "rule of law" evolved out of "rule by law." I much prefer the theory presented by Hayek in his classic Rule of Law (1975), according to which rule of law is an extension of the earlier Greek concept of isonomia (equality in law). Kauffner (talk) 04:53, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Kauffner, I've just overhauled the section on antiquity to try to address your concerns. I used this article by David Clark, which seems useful. Do you think the antiquity section is acceptable now?Anythingyouwant (talk) 06:22, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Great job. I think the part about the Medes seems out of place, especially given that it is referenced only to the Book of Daniel (a work of fiction included in the Bible). There should be something about Jewish law. If the laws are instituted by God, they are above any human, which is effectively the same as rule of law. (Or at any rate, that was Samuel Rutherford's argument and certainly an influential view.) Kauffner (talk) 11:08, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. If you want to mention some good online references regarding the Medes and/or Jewish law, that would be useful. But I think you're mixing up natural law with the law of the land. The latter is something that everyone in society can pretty much understand, and that society can change if it wants to. In contrast, the law of nature is more in the eye of the beholder. Rule of law refers to rule of the "law of the land", rather than rule of the "law of nature". Magna Carta used the former phrase, not the latter. If it meant the latter, then whoever is assigned to divine natural law will have absolute power. Notice that a section way down in this Wikipedia article is titled "In conflict with natural law".Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:14, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Jewish law is interpreted by a class of trained professionals, the rabbis, so no, it's not a form of natural law. Plato was a totalitarian and Aristotle a democrat, but Clark's essay makes it sound like Aristotle is a subtle refinement on Plato. As for the laws of the Medes, just from reading the passage and the commentaries I don't think there is any constitutional issue involved. It is just some boilerplate associated the process of issuing a decree: "Let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not be altered" (Esther 1:19) or "whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke" (Esther 8:8).Kauffner (talk) 11:16, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

I'll remove the paragraph about the Book of Daniel for now, because it merely cites to the Book of Daniel rather than citing to any third-party source. Regarding ancient China, I came across this statement: "More specifically, in the field of jurisdiction, Confucius, Laozi, and Zhuangzi, according to Peerenboom, promote the rule of man, not of law. Han Fei and Shang Yang promote the rule of positive, not natural, law. And Shen Dao's rule of natural law is not foundational." This quote is from Defoort, Carine. “Law and Morality in Ancient China: The Silk Manuscripts of Huang-Lao”, Philosophy East and West (1994-04-01). Do you think that's accurate, and if not, why not? My understanding was that you think that Han Fei and Shang Yang promoted rule by law instead of rule of law. And what does it mean when Defoort says "natural law is not foundational"?Anythingyouwant (talk) 21:05, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Thick and thin interpretations[edit]

The article already has a section describing the "thick" and "thin" interpretations, so I don't think another section is needed for that. If a reader wants a quick and concise definition of the rule of law, it's in the first sentence of this article, which says it means "that no person is above the law, that no one can be punished by the state except for a breach of the law, and that no one can be convicted of breaching the law except in the manner set forth by the law itself."Anythingyouwant (talk) 04:55, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

On the other hand, if a reader is quickly looking for a definition (beyond what the lead section says), it's rather hard to find in the article. For instance, the lead section mentions "specific procedural attributes" but (correctly) doesn't enumerate them. The section titles and even paragraph ledes give no hint as to where in the article to find the list, and the list (when found) consists of bare labels such as "generality" with no definition or discussion of what they mean. They'd probably deserve a couple of sentences each.
I'd propose that the current "Categorization of interpretations" be reworked into a "Definitions" or "Interpretations" section, separating out the definitions of the rule of law from the discussion of their interrelation, so that it would have one subsection for each of the two or three leading interpretations, followed by a subsection consisting basically of the rest of the material from the current "Categorization of interpretations" section.
I guess what I'm missing in the article is a section says what the Rule of Law actually is. The lead section gives a brief summary, but it doesn't seem to be expanded anywhere in the article...
Sabik (talk) 05:34, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
The basic meaning of rule of law is fairly simple, and is described in the first sentence. Various different people have added on various different glosses to that meaning, which have thus made the matter more ambiguous, complex, and confusing. As we quote in the section on interpretations, "the phrase 'the Rule of Law' has become meaningless thanks to ideological abuse and general over-use". I don't think it would really be helpful for us to promote one or more of those competing interpretations to the status of a basic definition. There simply is no clear and uncontroversial definition beyond the first sentence of the lead, and I don't think it's really our job to try to change that.Anythingyouwant (talk) 05:57, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

The footnote at 55 is dead.Shtove (talk) 19:22, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Lead sentence[edit]

I think the lead sentence should at least cover the common ground regarding this term's meaning, so I've cited Black's Law Dictionary for that.Anythingyouwant (talk) 19:21, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Anwar al-Awlaki killing[edit]

The section on the Rule of Law in the United States reads like a parody. After the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki and subsequently his 16 year old son (both citizens of the US) without any trial or presentation of any evidence what-so-ever, to a judge or the public or otherwise, one has to wonder if there is any Rule of Law left in the United States at all. How does al-Awlaki's killing affect the status of Rule of Law in the US? Is it just me who finds the whole paragraph on the US to just read like ridiculous propaganda? (talk) 02:36, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Merger of Nomocracy[edit]

Merger implemented. -- Beland (talk) 18:04, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

To borrow a legal phrase: with all deliberate speed. --S. Rich (talk) 19:55, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

legal literacy and/or legal awareness[edit]

I am about to begin rough sketch for article at my userspace User:Mahitgar/legal awareness on subject 'legal literacy' and/or 'legal awareness'.Requesting openion What is preferable primary article name legal literacy or legal awareness ;personally I prefer term 'legal awareness' being broader term. You are well come to contribute and improve proposed article legal awareness. Mahitgar (talk) 16:25, 24 May 2012 (UTC)


Christopher Weeramantry has been described by IP editor as "fringe". Perhaps so, but he's got an article and his resume suggests respectability. Perhaps the particular section (in which his quote is contained) needs editing, but blanket removal of him smacks of censorship. Let's get a consensus before removing.--S. Rich (talk) 19:08, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Individual scholars section?[edit]

The listing of individuals & organizations in the "Organizations and scholarly works" section does not help the article in an overall sense. That is, the organizations may have a role in promoting the rule of law in the world, but that should be the extent of their inclusion. The adding of individuals is more problematic. All sorts of scholars have opined on the subject. Where they have, they should be used as RS for the text. Adding them and the particular points or thoughts they have about the rule of law distracts from the subject as a whole. This is more of a problem when we see the subsections repeating points that are already part of the text. If they are not already used as RS in the text, their mention should be confined to listing them in a "See also" section. – S. Rich (talk) 14:59, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Not a dictionary[edit]

It's true that Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Nevertheless, per WP:NAD, "Wikipedia articles should begin with a good definition". Per WP:Lead, "If its subject is definable, then the first sentence should give a concise definition". Therefore, I restored the lead.Anythingyouwant (talk) 13:12, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

I don't see any reason to remove Black's Law Dictionary as a source. Whatever dictionaries we use, it's advisable to follow what they say, rather than attributing stuff to the sources that isn't there. The dictionaries don't say that there's no rule of law unless the laws are ethical.Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:34, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

ģ=== Discussion about whether the lead is proper ===

At Anythingyouwant's request, opening a discussion thread. The previous lead paragraph is not very concrete and violates WP:NAD to a degree:

The rule of law (also known as nomocracy) generally refers to the influence and authority of law within society, especially as a constraint upon behavior, including behavior of government officials.[1] This phrase is also sometimes used in other senses.[2]

Per WP:Lead, "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview. It should define the topic." As a general principle weasel words like "generally refers to" are red flags in the lead sentence as they make the lead sentence unspecific and they attempt to define the words in the title of the article rather than defining the topic itself. If you read WP:Lead#Format of the first sentence it makes a point of using clear verbs such as "is" and "was". Also the "used in other senses" statement is the type of thing that is usually to be avoided. If the title of the article really does not accurately identify the topic, then perhaps a different title should be used. If there is no title for the article that is especially clear (which does not really apply here), then a disclaimer like this may be appropriate though it needs to be phrased a more clearly so as not to confuse the reader as to the topic of the current article.

In order to address these concerns I changed this to

The rule of law (also known as nomocracy) is a style of government in which all persons and institutions, including the government itself, are subject to the society's laws. Inherent in the rule of law is the notion that laws must be made through well-defined means, must be made public, and must be enforced and judged through transparent and ethical means. The rule of law stands in contrast to governmental systems in which the will of individual leaders determines the rules to be followed by society and systems in which elite members of society are exempt from some laws because of their status.[1][3]

Anythingyouwant has chosen to revert this but has not provided a specific reason (the statements made in the comments seem to support the changes I have made so I am unclear what the point is). Please elaborate.

--MC (19:50, 17 October 2013‎

I did provide specific reasons days ago, please see above. I would add that, if a word has more than one meaning, we ought to acknowledge that up front so as to avoid confusion. Also, in the future, please sign your comments with four tildes. Thanks. Anythingyouwant (talk) 19:58, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry but I can't find justification in what you are saying. To comment on some specific items:
  • WP:NAD says that the article should start with a "good definition". The original version rambles about possible meanings of the words in the title rather than crisply defining the topic (lead must define the article's topic not the words in its title).
  • Black Law's is not the only source. I do not find merit in suggesting that if any other authority says something that Black Law did not spell out they are wrong. The UN definition which I referenced, says:
the rule of law refers to a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.
What I wrote paraphrases this. If you prefer, we can explicitly introduce a quote from this or another source. But still that does not explain why you oppose defining the topic in the lead.
If you wish to propose different wording, please do so. But either way you must comply with MOS.
--MC — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:28, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
This Wikipedia article has a section about the United Nations, which quotes the same report of the Secretary General that you cite. That section about the United Nations is fine. There are problems, though, with moving it up to the first paragraph of the lead. First, the Secretary General is not a dictionary or an authority on the definition of English legal phrases. Second, the lead makes clear that there are conflicting conceptions of the rule of law, so we need to be careful not to unduly favor one view of one person or one organization.
In an effort to address some of your concerns, I've edited the lead so that it discusses a "primary" definition instead of a "general" definition. Also, the stuff about "other senses" is now moved to the footnotes. You're right that we have to follow policy, and that includes WP:NPOV as well as the other policies that I've already quoted in this discussion.
The first sentence of the lead is worded broadly enough so that it covers all of the various interpretations mentioned later in the Wikipedia article.Anythingyouwant (talk) 02:47, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
(undent) I'm sorry but you are avoiding addressing the original concern. The lead sentence does not define the article's topic. It provides a vague definition of the words in the article's title. This is not appropriate. If you wish to provide an alternative that complies with MOS, please do so. Otherwise please put back what I proposed. --MC — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:21, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Please leave the section header neutral on this talk page. I have left a message about it at your user talk page. Thanks.Anythingyouwant (talk) 02:37, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

(Outdent) Here is what the lead paragraph presently says:

The first sentence seems to be well-supported by the cited sources, especially the OED. Do you think the OED is a good source for this sort of thing?Anythingyouwant (talk) 02:43, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

It's clear that nothing productive is going to come from this discussion so let's close it. Anythingyouwant has made clear the intention to edit-war. Galling as the behavior is I'm not going to waste more energy on this. -- MC — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:12, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't see any problems with the lead. Remember that it is a summary of the article. Maybe you can try to address your concerns in the main body of the article, and then take another look at the lead.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 19:50, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
The lead is supposed to be a concise summarize the body of the article with appropriate weight, not a summary of one or another external dictionary definition. The idea that Wikipedia articles should begin with a good definition is that the summary of the most important aspects of the body of the article in the lead should be concise enough to be used as a definition. This discussion is not going anywhere because it is not discussing the article body summary requirements of WP:LEAD. WP:LEADCITE indicates that the lead should be less likely to require a source simply because the information in the lead already should be in the body of the article. The information in the lead is non-controversial so it should not need citations. Yet, the lead is heavily sourced. The reasons for this is that the lead is not repeating information that is in the body but instead is using an approach of summarizing external dictionary definitions to write the Wikipedia article lead. The editors here need to be discussing whether the lead is a concise summarize the body of the article with appropriate weight. If you do not like the outcome of a concise summarize the body of the present article, add sourced information to the body of the article and then take another look at the lead. -- Jreferee (talk) 12:17, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
That's a good point, but this is a huge topic, and even a cursory glance though it reveals deep flaws. That being the case, until some editors find the time to put into improving it, it is probably better to have a lead that borrows a little from dictionaries to hit important main points rather than not.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 13:49, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
I've inserted material into the body of the article so that the lead is now entirely a summary of what's in the body.Anythingyouwant (talk) 14:56, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
@Ubikwit, yes, you are correct. @Anythingyouwant, that complies with WP:LEAD and should end the matter. If you want to duplicate the body cite in the article lead, that is fine as well since the lead recently has been changed back and forth and the duplicate cite in the lead will help keep it stable. -- Jreferee (talk) 15:31, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

The Bible[edit]

The paragraph that had been placed as the opening paragraph of the Antiquity" section was based on some anachronistic assertions about the Bible.
It goes without saying that Plato and Aristotle were not reading that, and it has no bearing on the development of Western constitutional law by the Ancient Greeks, whatsoever. The article is at best a retrograde argument for the compatibility of some arguments and schema made in Deuteronomy, but unless there are concrete demonstrations that it was studied by jurists and legislatures at specific points in history, it is an essay that should be considered to be on comparative legal thought, with an emphasis on religious texts, or something along those lines.
I have placed it under a new section entitled, you guessed it, "The Bible", but that is not at all well integrated.
The article needs much work, at any rate.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 13:47, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

The section from which you removed that material also says: "In China, members of the school of legalism during the 3rd century BC argued for using law as a tool of governance, but they promoted 'rule by law' as opposed to 'rule of law', meaning that they placed the aristocrats and emperor above the law.[13] In contrast, the Huang-Lao school of Daoism rejected legal positivism in favor of a natural law that even the ruler would be subject to.[14]" Obviously, that stuff was not influential upon the Greeks or Romans either, so should it be removed too? I have added a quote from Levinson stating that the Deuteronomy passage helped "lay the foundations for the later political conception of a constitutional monarchy." Accordingly, I think the separate header can be removed now, and will do so. Anyway, the Bible certainly pertains to "Antiquity", so having separate subheaders for "Antiquity" and "Bible" was apt to be confusing.Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:24, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
The China related material is under a section called "Asia".
Sorry, but the bible is not in the least bit related to the development of law the Western world during antiquity, unless you can find something in Roman legal scholarship that draws a connection.
That said, as I mentioned above, without proper souring and contextualization, it is a logically inconsistent and anachronistic conflation to assert that Deutoeronomy helped "lay the foundations for the later political conception of a constitutional monarchy". To what specific "conception of constitutional monarchy" are you referring, for example? There was certainly no such thing called "constitutional monarchy' is antiquity as far as I am aware.
Please remove that and rethink you approach. If you want to integrate that source, it has to be done in a manner that is consistent with the historico-temporal development of the rule of law, wherever. If you like, start a section called the Middle East, and maybe mention Hamurabi, while you're at it. --Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 15:39, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Ubikwit, I appreciate your interest in this article, I really do, but you're incorrect. The section on antiquity includes this: "In China, members of the school of legalism during the 3rd century BC argued for using law as a tool of governance, but they promoted 'rule by law' as opposed to 'rule of law', meaning that they placed the aristocrats and emperor above the law.[13] In contrast, the Huang-Lao school of Daoism rejected legal positivism in favor of a natural law that even the ruler would be subject to.[14]" Why should that belong in the subsection, but Bible should not belong? There is further China material in the section on "Status" but that's info about current rule of law in Asia. Having said all that, I have no objection including in the "Antiquity" section something about the China and Hebrew tradition having been much less significant than the Greek and Roman tradition, with regard to later development of the rule of law (with appropriate sourcing).Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:52, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I see the passage you are referring to now--right before where I moved the other paragraph. I just thought of the subsequent section on Asia where Confucianism is mentioned.
At any rate, I think it is worthwhile to include the statements about Deuteronomy with respect to theory, but the statement about "constitutional monarchy" needs better sourcing (does he give specifics?), and the study does mention that the doctrine was never applied as being considered too Utopian. The Hebrew tradition would seem to offer some problems due to the theological/theocratic status of texts that are also referred to as "law".
Such documents are not documents of the same order, taxonomically, of the constitutions developed in Ancient Greece or the legal statues in Roman Law.
What about Islam? Maybe there should be a section on the Middle East, or maybe law in the Hebrew and Islamic traditions is too closely bound up with theocratic forms of government to be addressed in terms of the "rule of law". I'm no expert in the field, but it seems that if you want to talk about Hebrews and their religious legal texts, there would be a corresponding need to discuss the further Ancient Near East, e.g., Sumerians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, etc, in addition to Islam. I would worry a little about a danger of introducing moralism and confusing the discussion of legalism when religious texts are considered to be legal documents.
Still, I would wonder whether there have been Western thinkers that have addressed Deuteronomy in the context of law. I would imagine that maybe someone like the Bishop Berkeley might have read that text. If so, did it influence his philosophy and in turn influence someone whose work influenced the legal tradition? If you've had time to read the Levinson paper through, maybe you could elucidate.
The China material seems relevant because it represents a separate yet in some ways parallel development of a legalistic tradition per se, which is, of course, a system that prioritizes the rule of law per se, as a normative system based on universalism.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 16:58, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Here's a source that might be significant to our discussion. It says: "the Deuteronomic social vision is not entirely anachronistic". Also, I'm not aware that ancient Sumerians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, or followers of Islam left any record of laws (or proposed laws) to bind their supreme rulers.Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:43, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
OK, that looks like it might be good, as there is a paragraph specifically addressing the historical advent in England of the constitutional monarchy, which correlates with Constitutional_monarchy#Constitutional_and_absolute_monarchy. Who is Bishop John Poynet?
I'm not well-informed on the Ancient Near-Middle East or Islam, either.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 17:58, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
The more common spelling seems to be John Ponet.Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:04, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)How do you do disambiguate this John Ponet?

Ponet rejected outright the idea that the King was ordained by God to rule his Church on Earth. His major work was A Shorte Treatise of Politike Power (1556), in which he put forward a theory of justified opposition to secular rulers. Ponet had used the library of Peter Martyr Vermigli, a less radical resistance theorist.[23] The work justified tyrannicide.[24] The Treatise was a seminal volume that later political philosophers such as John Locke expanded on, and influenced John Adams.[8] It had seven chapters, and a conclusion. Chapter VII, What Confidence is to be Given to Princes and Potentates, published the murder story Arden of Faversham.[25]

--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 18:05, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't understand the question.Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:16, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────No problem, I didn't ask one, just posted what seemed to be pertinent info from the Wikipedia article. There is an apparent contradiction in the first sentence that is interesting. He opposed the notion that "the King was ordained to rule his Church on earth" and he published a treatise that "justified opposition to secular rulers". Maybe it's not a contradiction, and his book just needs to be read.
At any rate, he proceeds this individual John_Sadler_(town_clerk) by about a century. He was the author of a tract called The Rights of the Kingdom (1649).--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 18:33, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

I put a sentence about Ponet into the article. Does it look okay?Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:45, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Looks good to me. Cheers.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 18:48, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Cheers. By the way, if you'd like to read Ponet, this looks pretty good.Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:50, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Things I expected to find[edit]

Things I thought I'd find here but were missing:

"A nation of laws, not men," indicating the actual meaning of the often half-quoted truth is along the lines of the meaning of the rule of law.

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse," indicating that when the rule of law is present (especially, the law is fundamental, and well-understood) there's no reason that one may not know/understand the law (as opposed to the opaque and enigmatic law of today.)

Your views? (talk) 19:17, 31 December 2013 (UTC) _________________________ Came here looking for contribution of Jews/Israel/Hebrews to concept of rule of law. Found nothing. Yet surely this has been a major contribution, if not THE major contribution to the concept of governing human society through law: (1) the idea of the 10 Commandments, (2)the painstaking study and written preservation of law through the centuries and (3)the education of generations of young people in Hebrew law as integral part of growing up.Starfoot (talk) 14:37, 13 September 2014 (UTC) ___________________________

Added three lines concerning the terms liable, responsable, and guilty after the first section.[edit]

Underlying basis.

The victim is liable. The perpetrator, responsable. The solicitor/prosecutor, guilty.

The first, due exagerations, the second due do, the third, due willfullness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:29, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary, "Rule of Law, n.", accessed April 27, 2013: "The authority and influence of law in society, esp. when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behaviour; (hence) the principle whereby all members of a society (including those in government) are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes."
  2. ^ Garner, Bryan A. (Editor in Chief). Black's Law Dictionary, 9th Edition, p. 1448. (Thomson Reuters, 2009). ISBN 978-0-314-26578-4. The lead definition given by Black's is this: "A substantive legal principle", and the second definition is the "supremacy of regular as opposed to arbitrary power". Black's provides a total of five definitions of "rule of law".
  3. ^ "United Nations and the Rule of Law". United Nations. Retrieved 13 Oct 2013. 
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference ari was invoked but never defined (see the help page).