Constitutional and Administrative Law: Rule of Law
The idea of the rule of law goes back as far as Aristotle in Ancient Greece, who advocated a law of the land with justice for all, as being imperative in avoiding anarchy and dictatorship. According to A.V. Dicey, who we know to have provided a modern notion to the foundation of the rule of law, it was ‘one of the most marked peculiarities of English life.’ 1 It is therefore a natural consequence that one should look upon these theories along with relevant case law to try and provide oneself with a greater consideration and understanding of such a peculiarity. Professor Craig has helped to develop this understanding by looking at formal and substantive theories of the rule of law, the formal being how the law was made, by whom and in the correct manner to be ‘capable of guiding ones conduct in order that one can plan ones life.’ 2 Although this formal doctrine does ensure conformity to the rule of law by the individual, it does not look at the individual laws themselves, nor the rights of the individual and the legitimacy of so called ‘good’ laws. This substantive conception plays a part in the English constitution that we live in. Dicey champions the unwritten English constitution, as he believes laws should be judge made to protect personal liberty. The further elements being, that no one is above the law, and that to be punished, one must distinctly breach a law made in the ordinary courts. Dicey’s theory on equality is supported in the leading case Entick v Carrington (1765) this established civil liberties and limited the scope of executive power, Lord Camden CJ held ‘If it is law, it will be found in our books. If it is not to be found there, it is not law.’ 3 However, in the Rossminster case (1980), the House of Lords rejected Lord Denning’s view in the Court of Appeal that a warrant must particularise the specific offence which is charged as fraud on the revenue because he believed that the...
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