What Are the Principles of Law?


Law is the body of rules that govern behavior and is enforced by governmental and social institutions. While the precise definition of law has long been disputed, many think of law as a science or art of justice. The goal of law is to prevent injustice and promote equality. This article outlines several important principles of law.

Principles of the Rule of Law

The concept of the rule of law has been a topic of debate since ancient times. Philosophers like Aristotle, Lord Bingham, and others have made attempts to identify the elements of the rule of law in various societies. Though some have praised the concept, others have criticised it. Some believe that rule of law is only possible in democratic societies, while others think that it can exist in despotic regimes.

The rule of law is the basic principle of constitutional democracy, which requires that all citizens are treated equally and fairly. It establishes separation of powers among the executive, legislature, and judiciary. Those who are accused of a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They are also entitled to remain silent. They are also not required to provide testimony that would incriminate them.

Formal aspects

The study of formal aspects of law is an important area of legal theory. It focuses on the characteristics of law in a society and how these features affect the law. It has special interest among scholars in legal philosophy and legal theory. In addition, the study of these aspects has implications for legal informatics.

The two main types of legal values are classical and neoclassical. The classical group emphasizes the factual basis of legal reasoning, and the neoclassical school emphasizes the givenness of those values. The classical and neoclassical schools emphasize the stability of human psyche, and the third group of legal theories focuses on the permanence of human values.

Procedural aspects

The procedural aspects of law are the details of how the law operates. In essence, they define how the law applies to everyday life. For instance, a statute may provide that a person may engage in certain activities. In contrast, a statute that prohibits an activity may impose a ban. In addition, procedural aspects of law affect how rights are exercised in practice. They also help clarify the practical consequences of proposed legislation.

Substantive values

Substantive values in law are the social values that guide the application of law. These values are important in society, and good jurists don’t ignore them when analyzing a case. Some examples of substantive values in law include equality and justice for all. Proponents of substantive equality, for example, believe that all minorities and women should be treated equally in society. They also believe in affirmative action, which is an effort to promote social change.

Substantive equality has several benefits, but it can also lead to excessive consequences. Often, substantive equality is based on the rulemakers’ perception of what is good for society. In some cases, it can be difficult to achieve this objective. For example, in the case of criminal justice, a state might not be able to punish an offender in a way that is beneficial to the community as a whole.