Principles of the Rule of Law

The rule of law is best described as:

the people (including, one should add, the government) should be ruled by the law and obey it and  that the law should be such that people will be able (and, one should add, willing) to be guided by it.’

– Geoffrey de Q. Walker, The rule of law: foundation of constitutional democracy, (1st Ed., 1988).

The relevance of the rule of law is demonstrated by application of the following principles in practice:

‘The rule of law is an overarching principle which ensures that Australians are governed by laws which their elected representatives make and which reflect the rule of law.  It requires that the laws are administered justly and fairly.’

– Robin Speed, Founder, Rule of Law Education Centre

There have been other approaches and definitions of the rule of law such as Dicey’s three principles of the rule of law and Lord Bingham’s eight principles.  These can be seen on our page on Rule of Law Approaches.


The Rule of Law Wheel

To inspire discussion of the Rule of Law in practice, we use our Rule of Law Wheel which provides a way to imagine the principles and legal traditions that contribute to maintaining the rule of law in Australia.

Click on each section of the wheel below to learn more about the different principles of the rule of law:

Read more about the Rule of Law Wheel on our What is the Rule of Law  page or by downloading the Rule of Law Wheel Poster.