3.1.1 The Rule of Law - Introduction

Welcome to the first lesson of the third topic in this module guide - The Rule of Law! How the rule of law is defined and protected is subject to a great deal of debate, although it is generally accepted that the rule is an essential part of an effective constitution. At the end of this section, you should be comfortable understanding how the rule developed, in what areas there are matters of contention, and how the rule manifests (or should manifest) itself in the UK.

This section begins by introducing the rule and outlining the history of its conception. It then goes some way to pinning down the main aspects and arguments for its specific definition, and whether the conception ought to follow a content-free or content-rich model. The section talks about whether the rule of law has been a useful concept, and how judicial interpretation of the rule has influenced its manifestation in the United Kingdom. There finally then further discussion of the intersection of the rule and the United Kingdom.

Goals for this section:

  • To understand some definitions and objectives of the rule of law.
  • To appreciate how the rule has manifested itself in the United Kingdom.

Objectives for this section:

  • To appreciate how the rule has developed throughout history, and how 19th century academics and commentators have contributed to its definition.
  • To evaluate how the rule has been used to fulfil its primary function as a constraint on government.
  • To be able to analyse threats to the rule, both generally and those that manifest themselves in the United Kingdom context.

Start the Lecture

We have three lengths of lecture to suit varying study needs. Select one of the options below to get started (if you have already chosen a study level you will see the option highlighted in violet):

Summary Notes Standard Lecture Detailed Lecture

Problem Questions

Each lecture is also accompanied by hands on examples of problem questions for the subject. You can jump directly to the questions below:

Hands on Examples