2007 | 10 | 29-43
Article title

A 'good' society and the law-governed state. Prolegomena to a constitution

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The idea of a law-governed state, which is referred to so commonly, exists as a synonym of the principle of the supreme meaning and standing of the constitution in the state system. The law-governed state in its pure form is one where the law provides not only the framework and barriers for the state and the actions of the authorities, but a state wherein its beginning and foundations are rooted in the law. The concept of the law-governed state has many highly detailed elements (the very existence of the constitution, the separation of powers, the independence of the courts, the legal character of administrative actions, legal protection against decisions made by the authorities, the right to appeal, etc.); its essence, however, is the recognition of the law as a particular means and a yardstick with which both the state's system and the recognition of the legal standards vested with the power to shape social relationships, the regulatory power, are moulded. It is the prestige of the law - 'nomos basileus' - which should be the source of state order. The supremacy of the law provides the premise on which the introduction of every detailed solution which turns the idea of the law-governed state into specifics, is based. If the rule of law, rather than that of the authorities is to exist, this must be a law wherein each citizen may contribute to its shape; ideally it will be one established directly by the citizens rather than by the established authorities, democratic in an indirect way. This must be a law binding upon everyone equally, observed by everyone, operating effectively and surely. It must also be a law made for society's sake rather than for that of an idea, and it must be fitting to those realities, standards and common practices that exist in that society. It must also be a law not too rigorous and imposing neither excessive requirements nor strange measures.
  • P. Kaczorowski, Uniwersytet Kardynala Stefana Wyszynskiego w Warszawie, ul. Dewajtis 5, 01-815 Warszawa, Poland
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