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Home » Archive » The Formal Meaning Of The Ideal Of The Rule Of Law

Stefano Civitarese Matteucci
The Formal Meaning Of The Ideal Of The Rule Of Law
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The “rule of law” is an essentially contested concept. This concept (or ideal) has, however, at least in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, a core consisting in the almost banal fact that public authorities and citizens are «bound by and act consistently with the law». The aim of the article is to examine, from the specific perspective of the Italian doctrine of public law, the following two questions implied by the rule of law: a) to what extent we can say that the rule of law is a concept and to what extent it is an ideal; b) to what extent such an ideal is possible and therefore worth pursuing. The author seeks to answer these questions arguing that also in contemporary legal systems, complex and integrated, the rule of law remains a fundamental part both of our understanding of law and of the way in which we expect a legal system should work, provided that we are aware of the difference between a formal and a substantive conception of the rule of law.

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