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Private Law and the Rule of Law$
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Lisa M Austin and Dennis Klimchuk

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198729327

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198729327.001.0001

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Fidelity in Law’s Commonwealth

Fidelity in Law’s Commonwealth

Chapter:
(p.17) 1 Fidelity in Law’s Commonwealth
Source:
Private Law and the Rule of Law
Author(s):

Gerald J Postema

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198729327.003.0002

The rule of law promises protection and recourse against the arbitrary exercise of power. The guiding aim of the rule-of-law ideal is served when law’s rule extends to all forms of power in the polity, social as well as political—the rule of law is not only a mode of governance, but also a mode of association. This chapter defends the centrality to the rule of law of the task of protecting individuals from power wielded by non-governmental entities and individuals. It also argues that the rule of law takes hold in a polity only when law is planted firmly in a commonwealth of mutual faithfulness to the differentiated and interconnected responsibilities of fidelity to law (mutual accountability). Law rules not only when government officials are held accountable for the discharge of their duties under law, but also when ordinary citizens structure their relationships by law and hold each other accountable to the common, public terms that the law provides.

Keywords:   arbitrary power, fidelity, legality, mode of association, mutual accountability, rule of law

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