A Comparative Study of the Formal Rule of Law and the Substantive Rule of Law

Longfei SONG


The formal rule of law and the substantive rule of law are two basic classifications of the model of rule of law. The former pays more attention to compliance of rules, but it can easily lead to mechanical rigidity. The latter pays more attention to consideration of situational factors, but it is likely to cause arrogation of rules, and even has the danger of disintegrating the rule of law. From the perspective of legal interpretation and legal paradigm, their differences are investigated more clearly. Different modes of rule of law also have different influences on judicial adjudication, and although these influences have caused difficulties in judicial adjudication, they have also promoted the question of legality, thereby arousing scholars’ re-concern about the rule of law in the new context.


The formal rule of law; The substantive rule of law; Legal interpretation; Legal paradigm; Judicial adjudication

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/10230


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