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Sharma, Kanika (2023) 'The rule of law and racial difference in the British Empire.' In: Wheatle, Se-shauna and O’Loughlin, Elizabeth, (eds.), Diverse Voices in Public Law. Bristol: Bristol University Press, pp. 15-34.

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This chapter begins by discussing the history and some modern conceptions of the doctrine of the rule of law (RoL) before turning its attention to the development and deployment of the doctrine within the British Empire. Firstly, it examines how the British legal experiments in the colonial setting impacted the modern British idea of rule of law as put forward by theorists such as A.V. Dicey. Secondly, it analyses the ways in which the doctrine of rule of law was used to establish and legitimise British colonial rule. In the second half, the chapter argues that rule of law and the rule of empire are inherently incompatible. Far from instilling equality between the coloniser and the colonised, rule of law in the British Empire was predicated upon regimes of colonial and racial difference that advantaged the ruling race. Contrary to widespread belief, the creation of this racial difference was not the work of a few corrupt officers and nor was it a mere side effect of the colonial legal order; rather, the British claim to follow rule of law in the colony actively worked to instil, preserve and obfuscate inequalities based on race.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Rule of law; racial difference; colonial difference; law and colonialism; law and the British Empire; A.V. Dicey
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
K Law
ISBN: 9781529220742
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2022 12:16
Related URLs: https://bristol ... s-in-public-law (Publisher URL)

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