There are numerous questions concerning the term “law”. Including, why do we have it? What is the function and purpose of it? And what is the importance and concept of it? There are various justifications for why law is essential, including; the law serves as a norm of behaviour for citizens within a society. The law acts as a guideline to what is accepted in society and to maintain fairness. The term “rule of law” refers to a theory of governance, in which people, public and private sectors, and the government are all accountable to laws and it is equally enforced and independently judged. However, the concept of the rule of law has been debated for many years. Therefore, there are many different approaches to the rule of law, both ancient and modern. There are two chief conceptions to the rule of law made by two separate jurists, Albert Venn (AV) Dicey and Lord Tom Bingham. This essay will outline the jurists’ concept towards the rule of law, distinguish between both approaches to the rule of law, and emphasize the advantages and negatives of their theories. Eventually, this essay will evaluate which approach is more appropriate.
To begin with, AV Dicey’s conception of the rule of law was indefinite in certain matters. Dicey approaches his concept with three principles. Primarily, he states that no individual should be subjected to guilt except for a breach of law. Penalties should only be executed on an individual for a violation of an established legal rule proved in the courts of law. All government actions must be approved by the law. Secondly, Dicey ensures fairness and justice by focusing on human rights. He declared ‘equality before the law, or the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary courts’. This statement clearly expresses that no one is above the law and everyone, regardless of rank, race, gender, social, political, and economic status, are required to follow the same law; we are all bound to law. A precedent presenting Dicey’s equality before the law theory is P and Q v Surrey County Council and P v Cheshire West and Chester Council (Commission intervener) 2014. In this case, P, Q, and P face learning disabilities and lack the ability to make decisions about their care and where they live. The incident then clarified that disabled individuals CANNOT be underprivileged of their own liberty in their care situations and with their living whereabouts. Consequently, people in vulnerable circumstances, similarly to P, Q, and P, are permitted to regular checks, to ensure that control is in their best interest. Thirdly, Dicey’s implies that the right of a person is not only ensured by the pledges set in a legal document but by resolutions obtainable against those who illegally interfere with someone’s liberty. Decisions must be made in court and not acquired from a legal document.
AV Dicey’s approach to the rule of law gave justice to the liberty of citizens.