The rule of law is acknowledged worldwide as central to good governance. Yet there often appears a huge gap between theory and practice, the acknowledgement no more than lip service. Where are the gaps? What are the problems? What is meant by 'the rule of law'? This book brings together the views of an extraordinary range of well-known authors. It contains essays by: Chief Justice Murray Gleeson, High Court of Australia; Justice Louise Arbour, Supreme Court of Canada; Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court of USA; Dr Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women; and Professors Saunders (Australia), Dyzenhaus (Canada) and Troper (France). Each essay is followed by a substantial comment by a distinguished Australian jurist - Justices Gaudron and Hayne, Sir Anthony Mason, Elizabeth Evatt, and Professors Saunders and McCormack - to highlight the relevance of the issues raised for Australia. The essays cover issues such as: the debate about the meaning and application of the rule of law, nationally and internationally; the gaps between the theory and practice of the rule of law; relations between governments and people; the tensions between the judiciary and the elected branches of government (for example, ouster of the jurisdiction of the Australian courts); international criminal justice; and the position of women in situations of conflict and insurrection.The analyses in the book draw on topical events ranging from the Florida appeal in the election of President Bush (Justice Ginsburg) to the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic at the War Crimes Tribunal (Justice Arbour, who was prosecutor).