n. 1 (context legal English) The doctrine that no individual is above the law and that everyone must answer to it. 2 (context legal English) The maxim whereby governmental decisions are made by applying known legal principles.
n. a state of order in which events conform to the law
The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials. It primarily refers to the influence and authority of law within society, particularly as a constraint upon behaviour, including behaviour of government officials.The Oxford English Dictionary has defined "rule of law" this way:
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.
See “Civil Affairs and Rule of Law”, Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School (accessed October 18, 2013) (quoting the OED). The phrase "rule of law" is also sometimes used in other senses. See 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". The phrase can be traced back to 16th century Britain, and in the following century the Scottish theologian Samuel Rutherford used the phrase in his argument against the divine right of kings. The rule of law was further popularized in the 19th century by British jurist A. V. Dicey. The concept, if not the phrase, was familiar to ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, who wrote "Law should govern".
Rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law, including law makers themselves. In this sense, it stands in contrast to an autocracy, dictatorship, or oligarchy where the rulers are held above the law. Lack of the rule of law can be found in both democracies and dictatorships, for example because of neglect or ignorance of the law, and the rule of law is more apt to decay if a government has insufficient corrective mechanisms for restoring it. Government based upon the rule of law is called nomocracy.
Rule of Law (foaled 6 March 2001), is a retired World Champion Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire who was bred in the United States but trained in Britain. In a career which lasted from June 2003 until September 2004, he ran nine times and won four races. He recorded his most important victory when winning the Classic St. Leger Stakes on his final racecourse appearance. He had previously finished second in the 2004 Epsom Derby.
The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation.
Rule of Law may also refer to:
- Rule of Law (horse) (foaled 2001), a World Champion Thoroughbred racehorse
- Rule of Law (Armenia), a political party in Armenia
- Rule of Law Coalition, or State of Law Coalition, an Iraqi political coalition
Usage examples of "rule of law".
Maybe she should have brought the rule of law to stop men like this.
Viviane spent all her life to bring about a peaceful rule of law in this land.
Suddenly, we become aware of the immense distance that separates this Persian monarch from the Egyptian and Sumerian kings of two thousand years earlier – kings who regarded themselves as servants of the gods and who were as much subject to the rule of law as any of their people.
This rule of law does not stand on a succession between the wrongful possessor and the owner, which is out of the question.
What we have made is great enough to take into the dark places, to spread the rule of law, the honor of our city, until anywhere in the world one of us can say 'I am a Roman citizen' and be assured of good treatment.
The criminal elements are encouraged to destroy the existing system, to break down the rule of law and order, and then the leaders step in and restore order again by shooting the revolutionaries.
His conversations all revolve around his New Order, by which he means the absolute rule of law.
Certain constants or principles seemed to have emerged over the centuries, as they ran through their experiments and paradigms, trying successively closer approximations of systems that promoted qualities like physical welfare, individual freedom, equality, stewardship of the land, guided markets, rule of law, compassion to all.
The jade was the rule of law, and the ruler must make and follow set policies so that his ministers and his people do not hate and take advantage of each other.
Say what you will about Ezar Vorbarra, in thirty years of ruthless labor he transformed the government from a Vor-class club into some semblance, however shaky, of a rule of law, one law for everyone.
And he shared their commitment to reestablishing the rule of law and a tradition of peaceful transfers of power in the Republic.
Whatever I may think of Theisman when it comes to foreign policy or his apparent inability to subordinate theory to reality when it comes to the 'rule of law,' I don't think there's much question about his ability as a naval officer.