Martin Krygier: Three Ways Not to Think About the Rule of Law

This is a special edition of the RevDem Rule of Law Podcast with the lecture by Professor Martin Krygier (University of New South Wales, Australia). The lecture was opened by Dr. Barbara Grabowska-Moroz (CEU Democracy Institute), while the discussion was chaired by Dr. Oliver Garner (RevDem Editor).

In recent decades, the rule of law has become a ‘hurrah term’ throughout the world, likely used more often and by more people than ever before. This rhetorical omnipresence has given it a great boost in brand recognition, but it has not made any clearer what the concept might mean, what the phenomenon might be, or why anyone should care. 

Although the term’s fluidity might even be part of its charm to some who deploy it, it has a price. For while we say a lot about the subject, we don’t always think particularly well about it. Yet it is hugely important to think about, and I believe there are better ways.  

In this lecture, Martin Krygier discusses three conventional ways of approaching the rule of law, each of which seems to me misconceived and misleading. The first starts in the wrong place. The second goes on in the wrong way. The third misconstrues the point and destination of the quest.

He proposes alternatives to each of these ways. They still won’t make the search for the rule of law a walk in the park. However, they might help us avoid being, time and again, mugged by reality.

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