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Ethics in the Public DomainEssays in the Morality of Law and Politics$
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Joseph Raz

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198260691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198260691.001.0001

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The Politics of the Rule of Law

The Politics of the Rule of Law

(p.370) 17 The Politics of the Rule of Law
Ethics in the Public Domain


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the political significance of the moral justification of the rule of law in Britain. It regards the rule of law not as a universal moral imperative, but rather as a doctrine which is valid or good to certain types of society provided they meet the cultural and institutional presuppositions for the rule of law. It notes two contemporary approaches to the justification of the rule of law. The first regards it as requirement to the justification of the rule of law. The second is the tradition-oriented approach. It emphasizes two virtues: bureaucratic justice, the protection of the individual in anonymous social surroundings; and democratic continuity. It also argues that these virtues can only be achieved in a country with democratic culture, and a culture of legality with a tradition of independence for the courts, the legal profession, the police, and the civil service.

Keywords:   formal justice, common law, rule of law, Britain, bureaucratic justice, democratic continuity, democratic culture

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