Rule of Law
The phrase rule of law is commonly understood to mean the method of government of a sociopolitical system featuring the following properties: 1. Conflicts among actors—individual and collective—are governed by means of rules that are impartial and equal for everyone. 2. Rules are enacted by means of a “limited government” that wields its own functions within the confines of the same rules (supremacy of rules over the rule of men). 3. Compliance with such rules is rooted in a legal and political culture ( nomos as a sociolegal order). This entry first explores the meaning of the concept and how it has evolved historically, as a basis for a comprehensive definition of the concept. It then considers the relationship between the rule of law, sovereignty, and democracy and distinguishes between the formal and substantive/normative aspects of the rule of law. The various dimensions of the rule of law as it ...