Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Rex Debet Esse Sub Lege, Quia Lex Facit Regem Definition:

The king should be subject to the law for the law makes the king.

Related Terms: Divine Right of Kings

Relying on Henri Bracton, Broom's has the entire maxim as:

"Rex non debet esse sub homine, sed sub Deo et sub lege, quia lex facit regem."

The translation:

"The king is under no man, yet he is under God and the law, for the law makes the king."

Broom continues:

"... [T]he king is not above the law, for he cannot in person assume to decide any case, civil or criminal, but must do so by his judges; the law being the golden met-wand and measures to try the causes of the subjects, and which protected his majesty in safety and peace - the king being thuis in truth sub Deo et lege."

This most-welcomed maxim displaced the previously held tenet of the common law so eloquently stated by King James I:

"As it is atheism and blasphemy in a creature to dispute what the Diety may do, so it is presumption and sedition in a subject to dispute what a king may do in the height of his power."1

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