Instructor(s): David Dyzenhaus, Jeff King

Course Location: Please see the "Intensive Course Schedule" under Schedules and Timetables

Note: Attendance at intensive courses is mandatory for the duration of the course.

In this course, students will explore the origins, development and contemporary theories of the rule of law concept. Seminars will explore (1) the pre-twentieth century understandings of the rule of law in the work of Aristotle, John Fortescue and early republican thought in the United States; (2) the origins and development of the German Rechtsstaat idea, from Immanuel Kant through to World War II; (3) the libertarian conception of the rule of law in the work of Friedrich Hayek and contemporary scholars such as Randy Barnett; (4) the liberal egalitarian understanding evident in the writings of Lon Fuller, John Rawls and Joseph Raz; and (5) the social conceptions of the rule of law presently emerging which see private power as a source of ‘arbitrary power’ or ‘private government’ and hence a proper subject for regulation by rule of law norms. In the last three parts described above, the relationship between the rule of law and the welfare and regulatory state is a central concern.

The course will be aimed centrally at those who take an interest in either public law, jurisprudence, or constitutional theory, but should also interest those concerned with the application of rule of law norms to private law. Notably, philosophical training is not required to understand any of the readings. Essay topics can be agreed with a view to suiting the student’s interests and aptitudes, subject only to a requirement that they are meaningfully connected to the central themes of the course.

Students will be evaluated based on a final paper of 2500 to 3000 words. Papers must be delivered to the Records Office by 4:00 p.m. on January 31, 2020.
Academic year
2019 - 2020

At a Glance

Second Term



20 JD


Monday, January 6, 2020: 10:00 – 12:30
Tuesday, January 7, 2020: 3:40 – 6:10
Wednesday, January 8, 2020: 2:00 – 4:30
Thursday, January 9, 2020: 10:00 – 12:30
Friday, January 10, 2020: 10:00 – 12:00