Countdown to Christmas
13 - Rule of Law

IAF - 13

Rule of Law

  • The Rule of Law is not a particular legal doctrine or the sum of all laws of a country; but it is a commitment to substantive set of formal and procedural aspects of power sharing and public norms in society, most noteably in respect to governmental institutions. The aim of the Rule of Law is to protect each individual in society from arbitrary rule. Through this concern for independence from others’ will, the Rule of Law creates an environment conducive to individual liberty.
  • There are various types of requirements for the Rule of Law which can be classified in three distinct categories:
    • Formal Requirements, such as generality,  publicity,  prospectivity, intelligibility, consistency,  practicability,  stability, and congruence; 
    • Procedural Requirements that ensure that the process of law creation evolves through an independent judiciary, constitutional principles, and the separation of powers.
    • Normative Requirements extend the Rule of Law to values of liberal political morality, such as human rights, economic freedom, democracy, and social justice.
  • Rule of Law vs Rule by Law: While autocrats often like to appeal to the respective laws in their country as the Rule of Law, these laws often came about unjustly—through violations of the abovementioned criteria (e.g. no independent judiciary). Laws that are instrumentally created by those in charge to protect their privileges carry no normative power. In other words, there is no duty to obey an unjust law in a liberal society.

Gift Idea

IAF - Rule of Law Gift Idea

These gifts will not only fit the preferences of the legal nerds in your family and friends circles. But they will also make your liberal friends happy. First of all, c’mon who doesn’t like a personalized desk plague? Even the most humble individualist will be flattered. Yet, more importantly, it’s a daily reminder that modern liberal democracy requires the citizenry to uphold the rule of law. The populist wave of the last decade has shown us that it is still way too easy to transform our legal landscape, from abuses of “state of emergency” powers or changes in election law to replacing supreme court justices at a whim. For the ultimate gift, pair the gravel with a little fluffy doll of the most heinous populist de jour.

Sven Gerst