The Rule of Law – Formal, Procedural, and Substantive


The rule of law has three parts: Formal, Procedural and Substantive. These three parts work in tandem to form the foundation of the law. Without these elements, a law would not work. But, there are some important distinctions between these three parts of law. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is a principle that requires all citizens to live by the law. It is in stark contrast to the tyranny and oligarchy that existed in medieval societies. In 1215, Archbishop Stephen Langton gathered the Barons of England and forced King John to live by the rule of law. The result was the Magna Carta, which protected ancient liberties and required taxation. It also laid the groundwork for the United States Constitution.


Formal law is a philosophy of law that is based on the rule of law. The rule of law addresses both the formal and procedural aspects of governing by law, and it embraces certain substantive values. One notable advocate of formalism is the late United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who argued that the United States Constitution and other statutes should be interpreted according to their plain meaning.


Procedural law is a branch of law that governs the way in which cases are decided in courts. It deals with matters of civil procedure, such as the presentation of evidence. The objective of procedural law is to ensure that the legal system is fair and efficient. The failure to follow procedural laws can make the legal system inefficient and unjust, and can disturb the social order.


Substantive law is a broad category of law. It includes public and private law. Criminal law is a prime example of substantive law. It defines what behavior is illegal, lists the elements of a crime, and protects the rights of those accused of committing the offense. This area of law is rapidly changing and increasing in volume and complexity.


Opponents of law is a legal term that refers to an individual who opposes a law. The term can also refer to an individual who opposes a certain idea. The term has several synonyms in the legal dictionary. It appears in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, and the Latin American Encyclopedia of the Civil Code. In addition, the term has several abbreviations.