The International Rule of Law

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The rule of law is a moral ideal that protects distinctive legal values such as generality, equality before the law, the independence of courts, and due process rights. I argue that one of the main goals of an international rule of the law is the protection of individual and state autonomy from the arbitrary interference of international institutions, and that the best way to codify this protection is through constitutional rules restraining the reach of international law into the internal affairs of a state. State autonomy does not have any intrinsic value or moral status of its own. Its value is derivative, resulting from the role it plays as the most efficient means of protecting autonomy for individuals and groups. Therefore, the goal of protecting state autonomy form the encroachment of international law will have to be constrained by, and balanced against the more fundamental goal of an international rule of law, the protection of the autonomy of individual persons, best realized through the entrenchment of basic human rights.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Early online date14 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jan 2019


  • International rule of law
  • Jeremy Waldron
  • Kadi
  • human rights
  • legality
  • state autonomy
  • state consent


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