The relevance of the study is conditioned upon the ongoing processes of harmonization of Ukrainian law and judicial practice with European law, one of the defining principles of which is the rule of law, as well as a variety of doctrinal approaches to defining the rule of law and the practice of its political instrumentalization. The purpose of the proposed article is to develop the concept of the rule of law based on the consideration of methodological and sociological aspects of the study of the problem of balancing social interests in legal activities. Main research methods. Based on the dialectical methodology, the specific historical conditionality of ideas about the rule of law is revealed, the definition of the rule of law as a specific universal category expressing the development of social needs and interests is proposed, the complementarity of the basic requirements of the rule of law is revealed. Based on the need-based approach, the social origins of the political instrumentalization of these requirements are established. The value of the study. The article proves the methodological advantages of the dialectical approach to revealing the problems of the rule of law. It is proposed to define the concept of the rule of law as a dynamic balance of the values of competing interests of the participants in legal relations established in judicial practice. It is substantiated that the most problematic moments in the application of the principle of the rule of law are explained by the need-based conditionality of approaches to the interpretation of the content of this principle; wide possibilities of choice of normative instruments for neutralization of separate requirements of the rule of law; high degree of their uncertainty and internal contradiction.
Keywords: the rule of law, balance of values, weighing of interests, proportionality, legal certainty, fairness