The Rule of Law and Public Policy


The Rule of Law is a concept that holds that a country or society operates as a relatively stable system of norms and rules. Its principles require that laws be drafted, publicized, and enforced well before they impact an individual’s responsibility. It also requires that laws be proactive in addressing the most pressing issues.

Rule of law

Rule of law is a political philosophy that holds all citizens and institutions to the same set of laws. It protects the rights and freedoms of citizens by ensuring that the laws are fair and consistent. This philosophy is an important part of any democracy. However, it is not easy to implement. Many problems can arise when the rule of law is lacking.

Rule of law has several core meanings. It is an institution that ensures that laws are equal in power and fair to all people, regardless of station or wealth. It also ensures that laws are not arbitrarily applied.

Legal procedures

Legal procedures in law define our rights and obligations as citizens, and they provide means for enforcing these rights and obligations fairly and effectively. They also dictate when and where legal action can begin and how it should be conducted. Depending on the type of case, legal procedures may involve a jury or judge.

Human rights component of rule of law

The rule of law is a system of laws and rules that protect the human rights of all people. States are accountable for the observance of these rights, and other duty bearers must comply with the legal standards laid out in international human rights instruments. Individuals may also file complaints with appropriate mechanisms to redress rights violations. Individuals, civil society, and the international community have a significant role to play in holding governments accountable. The rule of law promotes human rights by strengthening accountability and empowering those who are most vulnerable.

In the late 1980s, LawAsia initiated a major project to encourage Pacific states to adopt a Human Rights Charter. In April 1985, the committee convened a conference in Fiji, where it established a drafting committee. The work of the committee was reviewed at a series of seminars, and a draft model treaty was developed, based on the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Impact of rule of law on public policy

One of the enduring questions facing our society is: How does the Rule of Law affect public policy? It is difficult to answer this question without considering both the substantive and the formal features of law. Substantive law refers to the body of norms promulgated by a state that people can learn from, internalize, and apply to their everyday lives. Legal institutions, including courts, should be accessible to ordinary citizens and be able to settle disputes and protect them from abuses of power. Moreover, independence of the judiciary is necessary for maintaining the integrity of legal procedures.

Nevertheless, the impact of rule of law on public policy is not fully understood despite the billions of dollars that international actors have poured into rule-of-law programs around the world. While these programs are crucial for achieving high-level foreign policy goals, they often fail to achieve long-term success. Hence, it is imperative to test the impact of rule of law efforts and to measure their success.

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