Rule of Law

Topics: Law, Common law, Justice Pages: 6 (2436 words) Published: September 12, 2013
In course of Twentieth century, the emergences of democratic legislations and state welfare laws have lowered the effect of natural law and common law. These laws are bit liberal and sometimes puts limitations on the rule of Law in the name of nation’s Interest. This principle of ‘Rule of Law’ has been a matter of discussion and analysis since a long time in the realm of Jurisprudence and Legal theory. But, very less interest has been shown towards the exact definition of ‘Rule of Law’. Rule of law means, the law should rule. People should follow and obey the law. In simple way we may say that by Rule of Law the sense that is conveyed is, no one is above law but Law is above all. In present world, a tussle is going on between the rule of power and the rule of Law. The countries having powers are trying to suppress comparatively weaker countries. After so many years of the cold war, America managed to become world’s greatest economy and military power and also current problem for the rule of law. Being a strong country America has become very crucial for other countries for helping them and hurting them as well. America’s war against terrorism is an example of rule of power over rule of law. Origin of Rule of Law

This doctrine was firstly introduced in 17th century and developed during 19th century by the English Jurist A.V Dicey. In many texts Dicey was regarded as the Father of the doctrine of ‘Rule of Law’. But firstly it was propounded in UK by Sir Edward Coke (Lord Chief Justice of England), later on was developed by Dicey. The rule of law owe its origin from the French word ‘la princpe da legalite’ which means that only the Law has the legality, the Law, which is just, good and supreme. They established the rule that Law is the master of government not the government, a master of Law. In Middle Ages, around 7th century, Islamic Jurisprudence established that the Law is above all and no one is above the established principles of Law, not even a Caliph. As per this rule, the decision of monarch can also not be considered the supreme one. Later on in modern times it was developed by many other jurists. This was basically to overlook the roles of the arbitrary government. Judges played a significant role in the blooming of this Doctrine. Firstly it was observed in the most celebrated case, was ‘The Case of Prohibition’, which was itself judged by King James IV. The then chief Justice, Sir Edward Coke rejected this on the ground that the ‘Rule of Law’ is not something that is decided by the untrained monarchs. The famous Magna charta in 1215, was considered as the beginning of the Rule of Law in England. In this charter the rule and the power of the King John was limited by the feudal Lords who was governed by the arms. They bargains upon the powers of the king in this charter. Every democracy in the world today, is the example of rule of law. We can trace out their origin from their ancient theory of nation building. There are two basic conceptions of the ‘Rule of Law’: the formal one and the substantial one. In the formal conception they do not focus on the justness of law, whether a law is just or not. The only thing which is considered is the following of the legitimate rules. We can find the example from the Middle East counties, where the laws are very strict, an eye for an eye and hand for hand. But in the substantial concept go beyond only defining it, it also looks at the justness of law. Dicey’s principle of rule of Law has its own advantage. It serves as the tool to check the arbitrariness in the system and keeping the administrative systems within their limit. The government sometimes has the discretionary powers; these discretionary powers should not be the arbitral. They should take the decisions on keeping in mind the benefits of public at large. Whenever there is any conflict, justice must be given to individual on the basis of fixed legal principle not the arbitrary rules made by man....

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2. Khan Kamaluddin, ‘The doctrine of rule of Law’ (2009),, accessed on 2nd March 2012
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