Review: The Rule of Law by Chalmers (May 2022)

Shane Chalmers (Adelaide Law School – The University of Adelaide) has written a Chapter entitled :The Rule of Law” for the The Oxford Handbook on International Law and Development, which describes it as of “mythological character”.

The progress of Chalmers’s paper runs from a long statement describing the many outcomes of the rule of law, to a determination that the rule of law is of mythological character.

How about trying out a definition, Chalmers?

The hugest problem with the whole concept of the rule of law is the struggle to define it as cause, rather as effect, because unless we can define it as cause we’re stuck in the world of correlation and of trying to institute correlative outcomes in the hopes that it will bring upon us the rule of law, this despite that we all know correlation between variables cannot be taken to indicate a causal relationship between those variables.

Chalmers’s focus on describing the rule of law as an outcome indicates that he has missed this point entirely and his conclusion in representing the rule of law as of “mythological character” entirely makes this point.

Maybe its good sign – can’t sink further than that in the search for a definition of the rule of law than describing it as mythological 🙂

The Chalmers paper can be found here.

REF: Chalmers, Shane, The Rule of Law (April 17, 2022). Shane Chalmers, “The Rule of Law”, in Ruth Buchanan, Luis Eslava, and Sundhya Pahuja (eds), The Oxford Handbook on International Law and Development (Oxford University Press, Forthcoming), Available at SSRN:


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply