What is the rule of law?
- A V Dicey wrote 'An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution' in 1884, very helpful read, he stated:
- 2 key principles of the UK constitution
- No punishment without breach of law
- Everyone subject to same law
- Rights stem from judgements of independent judiciary (not executive).
- Moyra Grant wrote 'The Rule of Law - Theory and Practise' in 1994. She stated:
- Everyone is subject to the same laws
- Laws should be "just"
- Laws should be unanbiguous
- Innocent until proven guilty
- Independent judiciary.
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What is the rule of law? (Continued)
- Legal action limited rich and powerful; MP's immune from slander; monarch above law
- Unjust laws, e.g. poll tax
- Judges interpretations of law can differ
- 1994 Criminal Justice Act (limited the right to remain silent); prejudicial media coverage
- Judges can be members of executive and legislature.
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Is the British government an elective dictatorship
- Origin of phrase - Lord Hailsham (1976)
- Government formed from largest single party in House of Commons
- Government bills nearly always passed
- Fewer opportunities to hold executive to account
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