IP Guest Seminar

18 November 2019, 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Origins of the Rule of Law 

Andrew Irvine (University of British Columbia)  


The distinction between rule of law and rule by law rests primarily on whether laws apply only to the citizen, or equally to government and citizen alike. Unlike mere rule by law, rule of law requires that no one be above the law, not even those who have the power to write and rewrite the law. How did this idea – the idea that even the most politically powerful among us are not all powerful – originate? Like so many ideas central to modern democracy, it had its origins in ancient Greece. In a trial that today often remains overlooked, it was one man’s action that helped establish the first rudimentary distinctions between constitutional democracy and unrestrained mob rule. Keywords: Arginusae trial, constitutionalism, democracy, rule of law, Socrates Forthcoming in David Hardwick and Leslie Marsh (eds), Reclaiming Liberalism, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019


Read the paper here

 Irvine ORIGINS 2019.pdf


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