Mar 15
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
HKU Public Law Lecture Series 2024: How to Think, and not to Think, about the Rule of Law

HKU Public Law Lecture Series 2024
How to Think, and not to Think, about the Rule of Law


Date: 15 March 2024 (Friday)
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (in-person only)




The rule of law came to enjoy unprecedented acclaim in recent decades. But quantity has not always gone together with quality. And today its aura has dimmed. Yet it is hugely important to think well about, and I believe there are better ways. I argue that we should start first by asking, not what the rule of law is, but what it is for: what’s the point, and what would need to be achieved to make it. Only then can one ask what might be needed to do so.  The specific problem for the rule of law to solve, I contend, is arbitrary power. The character of any solution must be to temper power’s exercise to keep arbitrariness to a minimum. Then the question is how to do that. The answer, almost certainly and everywhere, will depend on a lot more than conventional rule of law talk suggests, and will involve a lot more than law.


Martin Krygier, Gordon Samuels Professor of Law and Social Theory, UNSW Sydney


Martin Krygier is Gordon Samuels Professor of Law and Social Theory, UNSW Sydney and Senior Research Fellow, Rule of Law Program, CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest. He writes extensively on the rule of law and its challenge(r)s, most recent among them anti-constitutional populism. He writes for academic journals and journals of public debate, on the rule of law, law and social theory, and law and politics in central and eastern Europe. His present research is focused on anti-constitutionalist populism and the rule of law. In 2002 he was awarded the Cavalier’s Cross, Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, in 2016 the Dennis Leslie Mahoney Prize in Legal Theory, and in 2020 Membership of the Order of Australia. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2002 and has enjoyed invited fellowships and visiting professorships at numerous universities and institutes in Australia, Austria, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom.


Stefano Osella, Assistant Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong


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