During the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, the Rule of Law has been a hot topic. Theorists of the time sought to distinguish between lawful and despotic forms of kingship. For example, Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Politics of Justice” outlined the different methods by which a ruler may establish a system of justice.
Modern theories of the rule of law continue to be fascinated by complexity. They also pay attention to the formal/procedural aspects of the system. These aspects can be institutional in nature or more subtle in their effect on the overall system.
The formal element of the Rule of Law is a set of principles and rules to guide the development of a legal system. This should include a well-defined set of norms, which are clearly spelled out and widely understood. The rules are meant to operate in a manner that is fair, impartial, and intelligible.
Other formal elements of the Rule of Law are the rule by law and the rule by norms made public. The latter refers to the general rule that laws should be promulgated well in advance of individuals assuming responsibility for their conduct.
Another formal aspect of the Rule of Law is the establishment of legal institutions to protect the rights of citizens. This is usually done by way of a judicial system that is independent of other branches of government. It is meant to be accessible to ordinary people and to prevent the abuse of power.
In its most simplistic form, the Rule of Law is a political ideal. It involves ensuring that no one is above the law and that no laws are broken. However, its effectiveness and usefulness is largely dependent on the individual. Therefore, there is a need for competent professionals to carry out its functions. A stable constitution is an example of the Rule of Law.
A key criterion for the rule of law is the rule of the common law. This refers to the fact that most legal systems are based on the concept of the presumption in favor of liberty. Legal systems vary from nation to nation, and some serve the purpose better than others. Nevertheless, there is much to appreciate in the common law model.
Among the most important features of the Rule of Law is its ability to promote social justice and orderly social change. To this end, it must be able to protect minorities against majorities. Moreover, it should be an open system, allowing anyone to study and internalize the laws. There are also certain substantive values that should be incorporated into the system, such as freedom, equality, and human rights.
Some of the broader ideas of the Rule of Law are the separation of powers, which is a principle of constitutional law. Separation of powers is justified because the process by which laws are made is distinct from the process by which they are implemented. Furthermore, there is a need for a transparent public business enterprise, which requires the integrity of the legal procedures used to enforce the laws.