In this post, we shall be looking into the advantages and limitations of the rule of law. At the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
explain the rule of law;
discuss the advantages of the rule of law; and
highlight the limitations of the rule of law.
Rule of Law
The rule of law is a fundamental principle that emphasizes the supremacy of the law in a society. It refers to a constitutional provision where all individuals, regardless of their position or wealth in the society, are subject to the same laws and are equal before the law. It is the cornerstone of any just and democratic society.
Advantages of the Rule of Law
- Equal Treatment: The rule of law ensures that all citizens are treated equally under the law.
- Individual Freedom: Every citizen within the state enjoys a degree of freedom in all respects, provided that it does not violate the rights of others or the law.
- Respect and Dignity: The rule of law guarantees that all citizens are entitled to respect and the dignity of a human person, regardless of their background or social status.
- Stability: Upholding the rule of law can lead to the existence of a stable society, where people have confidence in the legal system and its ability to address disputes and conflicts.
Limitations of the Rule of Law
- Immunities: Immunities granted to diplomatic, presidential, and parliamentary individuals can affect the proper operation of the rule of law, as these individuals might be exempt from certain legal consequences.
- Administrative Tribunals: The establishment of administrative tribunals may negate the full application of the rule of law, as they can have separate legal procedures and standards.
- Emergency Situations: During emergencies such as wars or crises, the rights of individuals may be curtailed, and the rule of law might not be fully upheld.
- Delegated Legislations: The existence of delegated legislations can encroach on the rights of individuals, potentially undermining the operation of the rule of law.
- Illiteracy, Poverty, and Ignorance: Lack of awareness among citizens about the rule of law due to illiteracy, poverty, or ignorance can limit its effectiveness in promoting justice and equal treatment.
- Government Attitude: The attitude of the government towards respecting judicial decisions and the rule of law can impact its proper implementation, particularly if the government refuses to abide by court rulings.