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Cover Public Law

3. The rule of law  

This chapter starts by defining the rule of law, explaining its importance, and placing its origins in Ancient Greece and the writings of Aristotle. Following a brief consideration of how the principle has developed since that time, it discusses the writing of Dicey, whose seminal text, An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (1885), explored the meaning of the rule of law and its place in the UK Constitution. The chapter then considers broader theories of the rule of law, dividing these into those that support what are known as ‘formal conceptions’ of the rule of law, and ‘substantive conceptions’ of the rule of law. Finally, it explores the way in which the rule of law can be said to apply in the UK Constitution, both historically and in terms of modern-day authorities.