The Rule Of Law Is A Doctrine That, When Followed Within A State, Provides Guarantees That All Will Be Subject To The Law, That The Law Will Be Enacte

2386 words - 10 pages

“The Rule of Law is a doctrine that, when followed within a State,
provides guarantees that all will be subject to the law, that the law
will be enacted through democratic means and that the law is morally
good.” – Discuss with reference to the United Kingdom

The Rule of Law is a theory encompassing much debate over what it is
and what a state needs to do to or have to claim that it follows the
Rule of Law. With regards to the quote in the question none of the
issues are straightforward and become even less so when trying to
depict whether they are true or not in the United Kingdom. The three
issues to be discussed are as followed: 1. In the UK does the Rule of
Law ensure that all are subject to the law regardless of status? 2. In
the UK does the Rule of Law ensure that legislation is enacted through
a means, which adheres to the general principles of democracy? 3. In
the UK does the Rule of Law make sure that the law is morally good?

The first issue stated in the question was that the Rule of Law
guarantees that all will be subject to the law. This is an aspect,
which most commentators agree on and one such commentator is Dicey[1]
who argued that no one is above the law, including the state, and that
there should be equality before the law, which can be reflected in a
number of ways in the UK.

One such way is the case of Jeffery Archer who was convicted on two
counts of perjury and two counts of perverting the course of justice
even though he was a minister. This can be evidence to the fact that
even ministers can be convicted and that the law is not arbitrary and
therefore the Rule of Law does guarantee that all will be subject to

Another way that it can be argued that we have equality before the law
is that the judicial review can scrutinise the exercise of legal power
by the executive to consider if it is intra or ultra vires (within or
outside its allocated powers)[2]. The judicial review deals mainly
with public law and so will not lie about the issues between a citizen
and a public body.[3] This is another factor, which shows that the
Rule of Law guarantees equality before the law and so makes sure that
all will be subject to it.

However there is also evidence of the Rule of Law in the UK not
ensuring that all are subject to it. Jennings argued that the idea of
equality was as indistinguishable as the notion of the Rule of Law.
This is because there are so many exceptions from the law "that the
statement is of doubtful value"[4]. Crown and diplomatic immunities
can lead to inequality before the law, for example, the Queen as the
head of the country cannot be charged of crimes (“Against the King law
has no coercive power”[5]) and the only way to convict her would be to
strip her of her crown and title and then convict her the same way as
an ordinary...

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