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Kresge Law Library

Rule of Law: Introductory Resources


According to the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers are supposed to "further the public's understanding of and confidence in the rule of law.” But what does the phrase mean? At a minimum, the rule of law is usually taken to mean "that government officials and citizens are bound by and generally abide by the law.” Brian Z. Tamanaha, Legal Pluralism Explained: History, Theory, Consequences 95 (2021). Some definitions incorporate additional requirements, such as the separation of powers, democratic governance, or compliance with international human rights standards. But those additions can be controversial. In fact, one major theme in rule-of-law scholarship and practice is the difficulty of finding a universally acceptable definition, and the need to consider tradeoffs between maximalist and minimalist approaches to the rule of law.

Introductory Resources

The following papers and articles may provide a helpful introduction to the rule of law.


Special thanks to Prof. Christian Burset for the introductory paragraph provided above and for suggesting valuable additional resources.

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