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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor William Lucy

Lucy, W (2020). Access to Justice and the Rule of Law. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 40(2): 377-402.

Author(s) from Durham


This article examines the often-affirmed link between access to justice (AtoJ) and the rule of law. Section 2 offers an account of what we mean by AtoJ, arguing that the most plausible account of that idea has three components. Section 3 examines the rule of law. The article distinguishes between the concept and conceptions of the rule of law and argues that there is a plausible and widely shared concept of the rule of law. It shows that, on that core sense of the rule of law, there are connections, some more direct than others, between the rule of law and AtoJ. Section 4 argues that other alleged connections between the rule of law and AtoJ are not made out. The article shows that we should be circumspect about the assumed link between AtoJ and the rule of law, since it is almost always too glibly and quickly asserted.