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To command or require pursuant to a principle of the court, as to rule the sheriff to serve the summons.

To settle or decide a point of law at a trial or hearing.

An established standard, guide, or regulation governing conduct, procedure, or action.

The word rule has a wide range of meanings in the law, as in ordinary English. As a verb, it most commonly refers to the action of a court of law in settling a legal question. When a court rules, the decision is called a ruling. As a noun, rule generally refers to either settled principles of Substantive Law or procedural regulations used by courts to administer justice.

One of the most basic concepts in the Anglo-American legal tradition is called the rule of law. The Rule of Law refers to a set of rules and procedures governing human and institutional behavior that are autonomous and possess their own logic. These rules are fundamental to society and provide the guides for all other rules that regulate behavior. The rule of law argues for the legitimacy of the legal system by claiming that all persons will be judged by a neutral and impartial authority and that no one will receive special treatment. The concept of Due Process of Law is an important component of the rule of law.

Courts and legislatures produce substantive law in all areas of human behavior and social arrangement. Over time certain guiding principles emerge that rise to the level of a rule. When this happens, it usually means that the courts have firmly established a standard for assessing an issue. The source of a rule may be a previous set of court decisions or a legislative act that clearly sets out how the law is to be interpreted. Substantive rules help guide attorneys in giving advice to clients. For example, the Rule against Perpetuities governs the way in which property may be given. Knowing this rule, a lawyer can draft a legal document that will not violate the rule.Courts of law have many procedural rules that determine how the judicial system will handle disputes. Courts have the authority, either by legislative act or by their own inherent power, to promulgate (issue) rules of procedure. State and federal courts have rules of criminal and Civil Procedure that set out in great detail the requirements of every party to a criminal or civil proceeding. rules of evidence provide guidelines for what a court may properly allow into evidence at a trial.

Courts promulgate rules of professional conduct that govern the ethical behavior of attorneys. Other rules specify how many hours of Continuing Legal Education an attorney must attend to remain in good standing. Courts also issue rules on technology. For example, the highest court in a jurisdiction usually decides whether television cameras will be allowed in a courtroom and issues a rule to that effect.

There are also rules of interpretation that guide courts in making their rulings. For example, the plain-meaning rule is a general principle of statutory interpretation. If the meaning of the words in a writing (such as a statute, contract, or will) is clear, other evidence is inadmissible to change the meaning. The interpretation of criminal statutes is guided by the rule of lenity. A court will decline to interpret a Criminal Law so as to increase the penalty, unless it has clear evidence of legislative intent to do otherwise.

Since the 1930s the growth in the number of government administrative agencies with rule-making authority has led to thousands of rules and regulations. The Federal Register is an official U.S. government publication that regularly prints proposed and final rules and regulations of government agencies. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, issues administrative rulings that interpret the Internal Revenue Code.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1) v. to decide a legal question, by a court, as in: "I rule that the plaintiff is entitled to the goods and damages for delay in the sum of $10,000." 2) v. to make a judicial command, such as: "I find that George Gonzo is the parent of Larry Gonzo and rule that he must pay support of $150 per month to the mother" for the support of Larry. 3) n. any regulation governing conduct. 4) n. one of the regulations of covering legal practice before a particular group of courts, collectively called "rules of court" adopted by local judges. 5) n. a legal principle set by the decision in an appellate case, as "the rule in the case of Murray v. Crampton is...." (See: rules of court)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

RULE. This is a metaphorical expression borrowed from mechanics. The rule, in its proper and natural sense, is an instrument by means of which may be drawn from one point to another, the shortest possible line, which is called a straight line.
     2. The rule is a means of comparison in the arts to judge whether the line be straight, as it serves in jurisprudence, to judge whether an action be just or unjust, it is just or right, when it agrees with the rule, which is the law. It is unjust and wrong, when it deviates from it. lt is the same with our will or our intention.

RULE, TERM, English practice. A term rule is in the nature of a day rule, by which a prisoner is enabled by the terms of one rule, instead of a daily rule, to quit the prison or its rules for the purpose of transacting his business. lt is obtained in the same manner as a day rule. See Rules.

TO RULE. This has several meanings: 1. To determine or decide; as, the court rule the point in favor of the plaintiff. 2. To order by rule; as rule to plead.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The right to withdraw and mandatory re-consent are widespread practices based on the Common Rule and online biobank consent forms.
A perusal of the literature suggests that clinical studies that are not subject (as yet) to the Common Rule remain virtually terra incognita in National Institutes of Health ELSI-funded research.
The Common Rule codifies this principle: "Risks to subjects are reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits, if any, to subjects, and the importance of the knowledge that may reasonably be expected to result" [Common Rule (DHHS 2001)].
The NBAC proposal to create a new federal agency has been opposed by the Association of American Medical Colleges, which believes that the executive branch already "has sufficient authority to address problems of inconsistency in interpreting and applying the Common Rule, and that the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Committee on Science of the NSTC should be directed to bring the representatives of the 17 federal agencies together to resolve these matters as expeditiously as possible."
Although noting the lack of consensus, the final majority report suggested that pesticide testing on human subjects would be permissible if all such research were reviewed in advance by an institutional review board in accordance with the protections of the Common Rule (Office of Science and Technology Policy 1991) and subject to scrutiny by the U.S.
There were some cases for which we could not verify compliance with certain Common Rule elements because the documentation was unavailable; however, based on our evaluation, it is apparent that the studies we reviewed were conducted in a manner substantially consistent with the fundamental protections of the Common Rule: voluntary participation, informed consent, and review by an ethical committee or institutional review board (which would have considered and discussed any potentially "scientifically misleading" protocols).
It is necessary to start developing common rules," Nazarbayev said, speaking at the plenary session of the Global Challenges Summit 2018, the Kazakh media outlets reported.
India's central bank head, governor Raghuram Rajan, has said that central banks around the world need common rules of conduct.
In terms an employee can take as a holiday leave, Bulgarian law offers the minimum leave entitlement enshrined in the EU's common rules, which is also the case for a number of other member states (Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands).
Common rules for dress and behavior of students have been introduced in the universities of Uzbekistan in 2012.
This is a good example of how things could go wrong if there aren't common rules."
Instead of the RJA Committee having jurisdiction over the common rules, the special subcommittee, made up of three RJA members plus a member from each of the other procedural rules committees, would review rule amendments and add comments that would be forwarded to the Bar Board of Governors, which reviews procedural rule amendments before they are submitted to the Supreme Court.