The World Justice Project has developed an index to measure the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. The WJC Rule of Law Index is composed of 9 factors and 52 sub-factors and covers various dimensions of the rule of law – such as whether government officials are accountable under the law and whether legal institutions protect fundamental rights and give ordinary people access to justice.  This sixth principle expresses the idea that laws must be enforceable. In the United States, it has long been established that a right without recourse is not a right at all. In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote for the Supreme Court in 1803: «The government of the United States has been categorically called a government of laws, not of people. He will certainly cease to deserve this high title if the laws do not provide a remedy for the infringement of an acquired legal right.  «Access to justice» is an essential element of the rule of law and must provide individuals with remedies to enforce their rights and access to justice to pursue such remedies. In Canada, administrative law makes the rule of law an underlying constitutional principle that requires that government be governed by law and that all public servants be held accountable for their actions before the ordinary courts. Although the concept of the rule of law dates back at least to ancient Greece, it has been discussed much more widely over the past twenty-five years. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said he did not recall the term being used often when he was studying law in the 1950s.  This was also this author`s experience as a law student at the same time. The Statute of the Council of Europe makes the rule of law one of the fundamental principles on which the establishment of the organisation is based. Paragraph 3 of the preamble to the Statute of the Council of Europe states: «Reaffirming their attachment to the spiritual and moral values which are the common heritage of their peoples and the true source of individual freedom, political freedom and the rule of law, principles which constitute the foundation of any genuine democracy». The Statute establishes respect for the principles of the rule of law as a precondition for full membership of European states.  The use of the term dates back to the 16th century in Britain. In the following century, the Scottish theologian Samuel Rutherford opposed the divine right of kings.  John Locke wrote that liberty in society means being subject only to laws enacted by a legislature that apply to all, with a person otherwise free from governmental and private restrictions on liberty. «The rule of law» was popularized in the 19th century by the British jurist A. V. Dicey. However, the principle, if not the phrase itself, was recognized by ancient thinkers. Aristotle wrote: «It is more appropriate for the law to govern than any other citizen.»  These four universal principles constitute a practical definition of the rule of law. They have been developed in accordance with internationally recognized norms and standards and tested and refined in consultation with a wide variety of experts worldwide. Two seminal writings on the rule of law – one in the late 19th century and the other in the mid-20th century – have assisted modern academics and judges in their efforts to define the concept. The Secretary-General of the United Nations defines the rule of law as: www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/rule-of-law/ rule of law, means the mechanism, process, institution, practice or norm that supports the equality of all citizens before the law, ensures a non-arbitrary form of government, and more generally prevents the arbitrary exercise of power. Arbitrariness is typical of various forms of despotism, absolutism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism.
Despotic governments even include highly institutionalized forms of government in which the entity at the top of the power structure (such as a king, junta, or party committee) is able to act without the coercion of law if it so wishes. The «formal» interpretation is more widespread than the «substantive» interpretation. Formalists believe that the law must be forward-looking, well-known, and have characteristics of generality, equality, and security. In addition, the formal notice does not contain any requirements as to the content of the law.  This formal approach allows for the adoption of laws that protect democracy and individual rights, but recognizes the existence of the «rule of law» in countries that do not necessarily have such laws to protect democracy or individual rights.