Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Rule of law under a treat

At its most basic level the rule of law is the concept that both the government and citizens know the law and obey it {}.

The relevance of the rule of law, and an understanding of its concepts, has its origins in the Magna Carta and the Rule of Law Education Centre uses the Rule of Law Wheel to start discussion about the question “What is the Rule of Law?”

A good definition of the rule of law that has near universal acceptance states

“…most of the content of the rule of law can be summed up in two points:

(1) that the people (including, one should add, the government) should be ruled by the law and obey it and

(2) that the law should be such that people will be able (and, one should add, willing) to be guided by it.”

– Geoffrey de Q. Walker, The rule of law: foundation of constitutional democracy, (1st Ed., 1988).

Why is the Rule of Law Important for Society?

The rule of law is important because a country that adheres to the rule of law results in a society in which:

  • All persons and organisations including the government are subject to and accountable to the law
  • The law is known and accessible
  • The Court system is independent and resolves disputes in an open and impartial manner
  • All persons are presumed innocent until proven otherwise by a Court
  • All persons have the right to a fair and prompt trial
  • No person should be arbitrarily arrested, imprisoned, or deprived of their property
  • Punishment is determined by a Court and people can only be punished in accordance with the law.

As a result, it can be said that the Rule of Law is more than simply the government and citizens knowing and obeying the law.  The Rule of Law involves other ideals, for example that citizens remain active and informed and participate in the creation of just laws which regulate their behaviour and protect human rights.

At its heart, the Rule of Law is an ideal or an aspiration, that members of a society must continuously work towards.

Central to the wheel and the rule of law is the concept that no one is above the law – it is applied equally and fairly to both the government and citizens. This means that all people, regardless of their status, race, culture, religion, or any other attribute, should be ruled equally by just laws. 

Beyond this, the outer edge of the wheel illustrates the number of principles that uphold the rule of law in Australia, such as the presumption of innocence, and fair and prompt trials. These principles can be considered essential elements that contribute to maintaining the rule of law.  Without these, the wheel would fail to turn and Australia’s rule of law would not continue to be upheld and maintained.  

Another essential element is that these principles and Australia’s rule of law is supported by informed and active citizens. Without responsible and engaged citizens, society is unable to work together to uphold important principles and values which support our rule of law and democratic society.

The “Rule of Law” as it is applied; Would be the infrastructure of the system which has been formed by the social necessity to reach the end in mind. That’s the final conclusion, verdict or final judgement. The people, lawyers, scribes, para legals, judges, civil servants, elected Representatives, buildings, library’s, courts, jails, government branches, rehabilitation systems, to name just a few. All being applied with the virtues bestowed on our inalienable rights as to the Laws of Man.

Where the “Rule of Man” is the complete opposite of the “Rule of Law”. It is welded, not by the Societal” Laws of Man”: but by a single person or dictator. Kings are a perfect example as to “The Rule Of Man”.

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By Chala Dandessa

I am Lecturer, Researcher and Freelancer. I am the founder and Editor at ETHIOPIANS TODAY website. If you have any comment use as email contact. Additionally you can contact us through the contact page of

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