The rule of law in UK public law textbooks: from critique to acceptance?

Brian Christopher Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Crack open almost any UK public law textbook nowadays and readers are likely to find an expansive chapter on the rule of law. This makes sense, given its historical origins and Dicey’s recognition of the concept as one of the two main constitutional principles in his celebrated text, The Law of the Constitution. However for virtually all of the twentieth century, the rule of law did not feature heavily in most public law textbooks. Often texts gave it marginal coverage, grouping it with other constitutional principles such as the separation of powers or constitutional conventions. Other texts openly and adamantly disparaged it. This piece seeks to shed light on this fact, incorporating a brief survey of public law textbooks in the twentieth century, including a few contemporary texts that traversed the turn of the century.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Law
Early online date10 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 May 2018


  • Rule of Law
  • United Kingdom
  • Constitutional Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Public Law
  • AV Dicey
  • Textbooks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science


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