Theories and Implementation of Rule of Law in Twelve Asian Countries, France, and the U.S.

Theories and Implementation of Rule of Law in Twelve Asian Countries, France, and the U.S.

Theories and Implementation of Rule of Law in Twelve Asian Countries, France, and the U.S.

Theories and Implementation of Rule of Law in Twelve Asian Countries, France, and the U.S.

Synopsis

Rule of law is one of the pillars of the modern world, and widely considered necessary for sustained economic development, the implementation of democracy and the protection of human rights. It has however emerged in Western liberal democracies, and some people question how far it is likely to take root fully in the different cultural, economic and political context of Asia. This book considers how rule of law is viewed and implemented in Asia. Chapters on France and the USA provide a benchmark on how the concept has evolved, is applied and is implemented in a civil law and a common law jurisdiction. These are then followed by twelve chapters on the major countries of East Asia, and India, which consider all the key aspects of this important issue.

Excerpt

In search of a conceptual framework for rule of law: the many meanings, uses and abuses of rule of law

Rule of law is an essentially contested concept. It means different things to different people, and has served a wide variety of political agendas, from Hayekian libertarianism to Rawlsian social welfare liberalism to Lee Kuan Yew's soft authoritarianism to Jiang Zemin's statist socialism. That is both its strength and its weakness. That people of vastly different political persuasions all want to take advantage of the rhetorical power of rule of law keeps it alive in public discourse, but it also leads to the worry that it has become a meaningless slogan devoid of any determinative content.

Given such wide usages, it is far from clear how to approach a comparative discussion of rule of law. Analytically minded philosophers tend to want to clarify the minimal content of rule of law by specifying the necessary conditions that any legal system must possess to merit that honorific label. Social activists and critics prefer a more normative approach. Rule of law becomes an expeditious means toward a greater end-achieving their favored political agenda. Positively, rule of law serves as an aspirational ideal, pointing the way toward a more just world. Elided with justice, rule of law becomes an empty vessel into which each person pours his or her hopes for a better tomorrow. Negatively, rule of law is seen as an ideological mask of oppression, the legal system a bastion of conservatism that serves the rich and powerful and thwarts attempts at realizing a more just world by reifing the status quo. Wondering about the evolution of rule of law and rule of law discourse, the more historically and linguistically minded take yet another tack. They reflect on the connotations of the various terms used to translate "rule of law, " the discourses that were replaced or superseded by rule of law, and how the discourse has changed over time. Others broaden the historical study to look at the factors that led to the development of rule of law in the West or explain the success or failure in transplanting rule of law from modern Western liberal democracies with mature economies to foreign lands that may not be liberal, may not be democratic, and may not have developed

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