Discuss the concept of “rule of law”

Concept of ‘ rule of law’

The concept of the Rule of Law is a framework developed by Dicey on the basis of the English Legal system. It is also described as the due process.

According to Dicey, rule of law comprises three distinct conceptions namely;

  1. Absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law; this means that all acts of the State are governed by law. It means that a person can only be punished for disobedience of the law and nothing else.
  2. Equality before the law; this means equal subjection of all persons before the law. It means that no person is exempted from obeying the law. All classes of persons are subjected to the same judicial process regardless of their age, sex, creed, gender or race.
  3. The law of the constitution is a consequence and not the source of rights; means that the law is a manifestation of the will of the people.

The significance of the rule of law is;

  • It enables individuals and citizens to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms and to reduce or stamp out impunity,
  • It facilitates smooth running of government affairs.
  • It enhances economic growth within the state.
  • It enhances political stability and democracy.
  • The rule of law is undermined by:
    • Excessive power of the Executive
    • Ton – independent Judiciary
    • Corruption
    • Selective prosecution
    • Civil unrest
    • Ignorance of the law
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