The introduction undertakes two tasks. First it argues that, notwithstanding deep points of disagreement, there is a general—albeit largely implicit—consensus among theorists of the rule of law that the rule of law is essentially a public law doctrine. In support of this claim the introduction shows how this presumption is expressed in the influential accounts of Dicey, Hayek, Fuller, and Raz. Second, it introduces the chapters of this book, all of which take up the invitation to consider the possibility that the rule of law concerns the nature of law generally and the conditions under which any relationship—between citizens as well as between citizens and the state—becomes subject to law, and thus engages private no less than public law. This enquiry can enrich our understanding both of the general principles of the rule of law and of the doctrines of private law.
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