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The centrality of predictability to the rule of law

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date1/09/2018
Host publicationHandbook on the Rule of Law
EditorsChristopher May, Adam Winchester
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages13
ISBN (electronic)9781786432445
ISBN (print)9781786432438
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameElgar Research Handbooks
PublisherEdward Elgar


In this chapter I examine the notion of predictability; firstly as a way of thinking further about both its appeal as a political norm, but secondly also as a way of exploring the rule of law's most basic character. To live under the rule of law is to maintain a set of beliefs about the self and community, time and space, authority and representation. It is to understand the actions of others and the possible actions of the self as expressions of these beliefs. Without these beliefs, the rule of law appears as just another form of coercive governmental authority. If the rule of law is a (political) common-sense then it has a meaning that resonates well beyond any jurisprudential discussion about its normative content. Here I suggest that there is at least one definable element of the norm of the rule of law that when identified as lacking immediately falsifies the claim that the governance system under discussion should be regarded as exhibiting the rule of law, and that element is predictability.