The Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence

The Promise of a Thick View

02Oct2018 12:00 - 13:00


Paul Scholten Centre Colloquium with Adriaan Bedner

Venue: Roeterseiland Room A3.01

  • Roeterseilandcampus - building A

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 | 1018 WV Amsterdam
    +31 (0)20 525 5340

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Many scholars prefer a 'thin' conception of the rule of law, because of the analytical value of the concept. Nonetheless, 'thick ' rule of law conceptions, which include substantive elements such as fundamental rights and liberties, continue to be popular. This chapter (part of the forthcoming Edward Elgar Handbook of the Rule of Law) argues that the preference for a thin or a thick conception of the rule of law depends on the purpose its users have in mind - as an analytical tool indicating a certain quality of a legal system or as a shorthand for a liberal legal state. The chapter moreover shows that the historical reasons given by scholars such as Joseph Raz  for preferring a thin definition are unfounded. The concept of rule of law has always developed in combination with ideas about fundamental rights and liberties, not only in England, but also in France and Germany.


Adriaan Bedner is KITLV professor (by special appointment) of Law and Society in Indonesia and Head of Department of the Van Vollenhoven.


Research colloquium, organised by the Paul Scholten Centre. This colloquium is open to all, no registration required. A copy of the paper can be obtained via

Published by  Paul Scholten Centre