Principled Principals in the Founding Moments of the Rule of Law




World Justice Forum



Institutionally, the rule of law consists of the laws that protect personal security and private property and the means for monitoring and enforcing obedience with those laws. Rule of law institutions are only effective to the extent that the powerful of the society believe they, too, are subject to the law and the populace believes in the value of being law-abiding. If office holders and the privileged act as if they are above the law, the rule of law becomes fragile or non-existent. When coercion is the only or even primary means to achieve compliance, laws may exist but not the rule of law. The rule of law requires legitimacy, at least if legitimacy means reasoned deference to authority (Tyler 2006). This applies equally to corporate elites who manage the economy, state agents who make and implement the laws, and the citizens asked to obey.

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