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According to Friedrich Hayek, conformity to the rule of law guarantees the existence of a free society, that is of a society governed by law and not by men. The aim of this paper is first to clarify the interpretation of the rule of law that is likely to sustain such a claim and second, to determine how far such an interpretation could allow for the criteria –specially the economic criteria — used by Hayek himself to ascertain the acceptability of laws. My conclusion is that the use of some of these criteria does conflict with a systematic conception of law and that far from confirming the determinant role of the rule of law, it rather allows for the arbitrariness of those who make laws.
rule of law, procedural law, kantian maxim, liberty, autonomy, impartiality.