Rule of Law

…“a state which savagely represses or persecutes sections of its people cannot in my view be regarded as observing the rule of law” even if these transgressions were “the subject of detailed laws duly enacted and scrupulously observed.” [Tom Bingham, The Rule of Law (Allen Lane, London, 2010), p 67]

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Lord Bingham of Cornhill’s eight principles of the rule of law [Tom Bingham, The Rule of Law (Allen Lane, London, 2010)]:

1. The Accessibility of the Law: The law must be accessible and so far as possible intelligible, clear and predictable.

2. Law not Discretion: Questions of legal right and liability should ordinarily be resolved by application of the law and not the exercise of discretion.

3. Equality before the Law: The laws of the land should apply equally to all, save to the extent that objective differences justify differentiation.

4. The Exercise of Power: Ministers and public officers at all levels must exercise the powers conferred on them in good faith, fairly, for the purpose for which the powers were conferred, without exceeding the limits of such powers and not unreasonably.

5. Human Rights: The law must afford adequate protection of fundamental human rights.

6. Dispute Resolution: Means must be provided for resolving, without prohibitive cost or inordinate delay, bona fide civil disputes which the parties themselves are unable to resolve.

7. A Fair Trial: Adjudicative procedures provided by the state should be fair.

8. The Rule of Law in the International Legal Order: The rule of law requires compliance by the state with its obligations in international law as in national law.

 

The Lord Chancellor’s responsibilities in relation to the rule of law

The independence of the judiciary is a core element of the rule of law and of the United Kingdom constitution more broadly. All ministers are required, under section 3(1) of the Constitutional Reform Act to “uphold the continued independence of the judiciary.”  The Lord Chancellor has an additional duty, expressed in the oath of office, to “defend” that independence. … this defence includes preventing undue Government influence on judicial decisions (including undue ministerial criticism of judicial decisions), ensuring adequate resources for the judiciary to exercise their functions and having regard to the public interest.  (House of Lords, Select Committee on the Constitution 6th Report of Session 2014–15)