The rule of law is a concept at once too important to ignore, and too confused and confusing to guide. It needs and deserves re-imagining. Moreover, if we are to understand its character conditions and consequences, the legal imagination, if such a solecism be allowed, is as likely to hinder as to help. This is particularly the case today when the rule of law, after an unprecedented period of international ‘hurrah-term’ popularity is assaulted by new foes, populist especially but not alone, all over the globe. Traditional lawyers’ nostrums seem increasingly effete in response.