28 June 2012
Venue: Forum 4, The University of Auckland Law School (Building 803)
Host: Professor Gerald Postema, Cary C. Boshamer Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The rule of law, I maintain, comprises (a) a set of standards for the conduct of governmental agents, (b) a set of core legal institutions, and (c) set of relationships and responsibilities rooted in core convictions and commitments. It is useful to refer to the set of standards and institutions as the ideal of legality and the set of relationships, responsibilities, convictions, and commitments as fidelity to law. Legality and fidelity combine to form the ideal of the rule of law. My thesis is that we do not adequately understand the ideal of the rule of law without giving full credit to fidelity to law.
Fidelity, I argue, is expressed not only in compliance with law and with standards of legality, but also in the active taking of responsibility for the rightful condition, in particular responsibility for holding partners to their responsibilities in the partnership. Fidelity involves mutual accountability as well as reciprocal compliance.
Professor Postema is one of the world’s foremost legal philosophers. Author of over forty chapters and articles, his books include Bentham and the Common Law Tradition (Clarendon 1986/1989); Jeremy Bentham: Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy (Ashgate 2002) and Philosophy and the Law of Torts (CUP 2001). He is associate editor of the 12 volume, Treatise in the Philosophy of Law (Springer 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011). In August, 2011 he published Legal Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: The Common Law World with Springer.