In one document, I found Indonesian term "asas ketertiban dan kepastian hukum" translating into “the principle of order and the certainty of law”.

Instead of "the principle of order of law" and " the principle of certainty of law", I only found "the principle of legal order" and "the principle of legal certainty" in some English legal documents or dictionaries.

My question, are "the principle of order of law" and " the principle of certainty of law" acceptable? What's the difference between "law" and "legal"?

  • 1
    First of all, one is a noun, the other is an adjective.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


"The principle of order of law and the principle of certainty of law" is not appropriate as a translation, compared to "the principle of order and (the) certainty of law", because the longer translation says something not in the original text, namely it says that the "order" is of the law, but the text does not say that (the text has two readings). A court might decide that that is what was originally intended, but that is for the courts to decide. Almost certainly the question would be whether the original text is supposed to mean "asas ketertiban hukum dan kepastian hukum".

The difference in English is that "law" is a noun and "legal" is an adjective, and adjectives have to go before the noun but "of X" prepositional phrases go after the noun. Indonesian is different, and in this case hukum translates into both the English noun and the English adjective.

  • 1
    This may be a small nitpick, I realize, but since legal English is often archaic, and non-native speakers may be reading this answer, it is perhaps worth noting that in some cases English adjectives do go after the noun, and that such cases are more common in archaic English. Examples in legal English include "attorney general" and "decree absolute."
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 21:38

“the principle of order and the certainty of law”

If this term is being used in the manner that I think it is, stare decisis might be a better translation.

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