Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights

Constitutional Roundtable


Pavlos Eleftheriadis
University of Oxford Faculty of Law

The Rule of Law as a Constitutional Essential

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

12:30 – 2:00
Classroom A (FLA) – Flavelle House
78 Queen’s Park

Abstract: The United Kingdom constitution endorses both parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law as constitutional principles of the highest rank.  The relations between the two have been a source of great puzzles, legal and philosophical. In this paper Professor Eleftheriadis attempts to clarify some aspects of their relationship. He will argue that the rule of law is the more fundamental principle. This is because of its particular role in any theory of law.  Properly understood, the value of the rule of law is not one value among many competing values. Its value is deeper because it serves as a foundation for any ordering of our collective life. In this sense it is a constitutional essential in the sense used by Rawls.  Without it, our public scheme of cooperation (or in the language of classical political philosophy the “civil condition”) is either impossible or, whenever possible, illegitimate. In a well governed society the powers of parliament, courts and the government are best understood under the principle of the rule of law, where the idea of sovereignty plays only a small part.

A light lunch will be served.

For more workshop information, please contact Nadia Gulezko at