Karl Marx and the Rule of Law

3094 Words Nov 21st, 2012 13 Pages



The rule of law plays a big role in the development of the western democratic order. A vague concept of rule of law started evolving more than 2000 years ago, at the time of Aristotle . Later a strong assertion of rule of law was laid down by chief justice Coke, who was dismissed from the bench for asserting the Supremacy of Law above the King. However his views were later accepted by the parliament when it passed the Petition of Rights in 1688, and with the passage of time and rise of territorial states in the 16th century the Law of England manifested it self as a supreme entity. Since then "the concept of rule of law" has gained different interpretations over the years, especially
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This is because Marx believed that the bourgeois class maintains discrimination throughout the society as a vehicle to uphold division of classes. He further elaborates by reasoning that the bourgeois class does so to maintain a certain power and relevance.

Collins agreed with Marx’s perception of law, saying that, “Far from hastening the revolution, the welfare state undermines efforts to create working class solidarity. By preventing the fullest development of the material degradation of the working class and by providing a limited immunity from the vicissitudes of economic crises, a welfare state delays the formation of class consciousness and thus prevents a revolutionary situation from arising…”[1]

Just like other interpretations, Marx’s perception towards the Rule of Law is open to criticisms. He is under the impression that with this doctrine, the government is able to silently exercise the abuse of power. Referring to the question, Marx is of the opinion that the rule of law is inefficient, and rarely, if not at all exercised correctly. The question is, how true is Marx’s narrow interpretation towards the rule of law?

The rule of law in its modern sense owes a great deal to Professor AV Dicey-The Father of modern English constitutional law. In his book, Introduction to the study of the Law of the Constitution, he states the three postulates of the rule of law:

1. “No man is punishable

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