Power in a country or society is closely related to the ability to create laws. In some countries, political power can be commanded by military power. In other nations, political power is derived from political action. Revolutions against political-legal authority are common, but they are not easy to pull off. This means that the political landscape varies greatly among nations.
Principles of a rule of law
The rule of law is an institution designed to ensure that people can live under the same laws in their society. It ensures equality before the law and the efficient and predictable application of justice. It also protects people from official arbitrariness. People can plan their affairs and make decisions with more confidence when the rule of law is established.
The concept of a rule of law originated with the philosopher Aristotle, who said that government should be governed by laws, not by citizens. Chesterfield Smith, then-president of the American Bar Association, summarized this concept when speaking about Watergate in 1973: “No person is above the law.” That is, law applies to everyone.
A rule of law requires that the supreme law of a nation be publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and adjudicated by an independent judiciary. It also demands that laws must be written in a way that ordinary people can understand.
Origins of the rule of law
The Rule of Law has a long history. Its origins can be traced back to Aristotle and Niccolo Machiavelli, two philosophers from the early modern period who sought to distinguish between the rule of law and despotic kingship. The debates surrounding the Rule of Law have continued throughout the modern era.
The concept of Rule of Law has had a significant impact on civilizations all over the world. Aristotle outlined the concept in his book Politics. He argues that the Rule of Law makes it possible for everyone to live by the same rules and to respect those same laws. It also helps ensure that no one is above the law and everyone has equal rights and protection.
The Rule of Law also requires the establishment of independent courts and judges. These institutions must be separate from other branches of government. This is closely related to the principle of separation of powers in the Constitution. This principle is based on a concern over excessive concentrations of power in society, as well as the distinct importance of the various stages in making and applying laws.
Impact of the rule of law on society
As a fundamental component of international peace, political stability, and social progress, the rule of law is crucial. It safeguards citizens’ rights and freedoms and helps reduce corruption and violent conflict. A strong rule of law system also makes it easier for businesses to operate responsibly and comply with their legal obligations. Furthermore, a strong rule of law system helps businesses meet universal sustainability standards.
The concept of the rule of law has been debated since ancient times. Various philosophers, including Aristotle, tried to distinguish between lawful and despotic forms of kingship. Likewise, in the medieval period, scholars tried to distinguish between law and despotic forms of government. These debates continued into the early modern period, and even into the modern era.
While many jurists agree that the Rule of Law is a formal ideal, others insist on its substantive dimension. Some argue that it has an institutional component and generates momentum toward substantive change. Many claim that the generality of the Rule of Law contains the germ of justice. Other principles, such as stability, publicity, and clarity, imply a direct connection between the Rule of Law and conditions of freedom.