Melania Trump Club

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rule of law

implementation Rule of law,
The rule of law is a legal maxim according to which no one is immune to the law.
While the rule of law has been described as "an exceedingly elusive notion" giving rise to a "rampant divergence of understandings", a dichotomy can be identified between two principal conceptions of the rule of law: a formalist or "thin" and a substantive or "thick" definition of the rule of law. Formalist definitions of the rule of law do not make a judgement about the "justness" of law itself, but define specific procedural attributes that a legal framework must have in order to be in compliance with the rule of law. Substantive conceptions of the rule of law go beyond this and include certain substantive rights that are said to be based on, or derived from, the rule of law.


Although credit for coining of the expression "the rule of law" in modern times is usually given to A. V. Dicey, development of the legal concept can be traced through history as far back as Ancient Greece.
The rule of law is an ancient ideal, and was discussed by Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and
Aristotle around 350 BCE. Plato wrote:
Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off; but if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state.
Likewise, Aristotle endorsed the rule of law, writing that "law should govern", and those in power should be "servants of the laws." The ancient concept of rule of law is to be distinguished from rule by law, according to political science professor Li Shuguang: "The difference....is that under the rule of law the law is preeminent and can serve as a check against the abuse of power. Under rule by law, the law can serve as a mere tool for a government that suppresses in a legalistic fashion."
An allusion to the rule of law applying to the Median kingdom is found in the Book of Daniel, where it is stated that not even that king can arbitrarily alter a law he has previously enacted: "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked."
The supremacy of law is by no means an exclusively western notion: in the Chinese philosophical school of Legalism in the 3rd century BCE, Han Fei Zi articulated three principles of governance, the first being Fa (Chinese: 法; pinyin: fǎ; literally "law or principle"), which states that laws, rather than rulers, run the state, and further that laws be written and public.


Middle ages
In Islamic jurisprudence rule of law was formulated before the twelfth century, so that no official could claim to be above the law, not even the caliph. However, this was not a reference to secular law, but to Islamic religious law in the form of Sharia law.
In 1215 AD, a similar development occurred in England: King John placed himself and England's future sovereigns and magistrates at least partially within the rule of law, by signing Magna Carta.



Modern times
Two of the first modern authors to give the principle theoretical foundations were Samuel Rutherford in Lex, Rex (1644) and John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government (1690). Later, the principle was further entrenched by Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws (1748).
In 1776, the notion that no one is above the law was popular during the founding of the United States, for example Thomas Paine wrote in his pamphlet Common Sense that "in America, the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other." In 1780, John Adams enshrined this principle in the Massachusetts Constitution by seeking to establish "a government of laws and not of men."



Categorization of differing interpretations

Different people have different interpretations about exactly what "rule of law" means. According to political theorist Judith N. Shklar, "the phrase 'the Rule of Law' has become meaningless thanks to ideological abuse and general over-use", but nevertheless this phrase has in the past had specific and important meanings. Among modern legal theorists, most views on this subject fall into three general categories: the formal approach, the substantive approach, and the functional approach.
The "formal" interpretation is more widespread than the "substantive" interpretation, and formalists hold that the law must be prospective, well-known, and have characteristics of generality, equality, and certainty. Other than that, the formal view contains no requirements as to the content of the law. This formal approach allows laws that protect democracy and individual rights, but recognizes the existence of "rule of law" in countries that do not necessarily have such laws protecting democracy or individual rights. The substantive interpretation holds that the rule of law intrinsically protects some or all individual rights.
In addition to the formal and substantive interpretations of the term "rule of law", another leading interpretation is the functional definition, which is consistent with the traditional English meaning that contrasts the "rule of law" with the "rule of man." According to the functional view, a society in which government officers have a great deal of discretion has a low degree of "rule of law", whereas a society in which government officers have little discretion has a high degree of "rule of law". The rule of law is thus somewhat at odds with flexibility, even when flexibility may be preferable.

Status in various jurisdictions

The rule of law has been considered as one of the key dimensions that determines the quality and good governance of a country. Research, like the Worldwide Governance Indicators, defines the rule of law as: "the extent to which agents have confidence and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, the police and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime or violence." Based on this definition the Worldwide Governance Indicators project has developed aggregate measurements for the rule of law in more than 200 countries, as seen in the map below.


United States


2005 map of Worldwide Governance Indicators, which attempts to measure the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society. Colors range from dark green (90th-100th percentile) to light green (75th-90th percentile), yellow (50th-75th percentile), orange (25th-50th percentile), pink (10th-25th percentile) and red (0th-10th percentile). Percentile rank indicates the percentage of countries worldwide that rate below the selected country.
All government officers of the United States, including the President, the Justices of the Supreme Court, and all members of Congress, pledge first and foremost to uphold the Constitution. These oaths affirm that the rule of law is superior to the rule of any human leader. At the same time, the federal government does have considerable discretion: the legislative branch is free to decide what statutes it will write, as long as it stays within its enumerated powers and respects the constitutionally protected rights of individuals. Likewise, the judicial branch has a degree of judicial discretion, and the executive branch also has various discretionary powers including prosecutorial discretion.
Scholars continue to debate whether the U.S. Constitution adopted a particular interpretation of the "rule of law," and if so, which one. For example, Law Professor John Harrison asserts that the word "law" in the Constitution is simply defined as that which is legally binding, rather than being "defined by formal or substantive criteria," and therefore judges do not have discretion to decide that laws fail to satisfy such unwritten and vague criteria. Law Professor Frederick Mark Gedicks disagrees, writing that Cicero, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and the framers of the U.S. Constitution believed that an unjust law was not really a law at all.
James Wilson said during the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 that, "Laws may be unjust, may be unwise, may be dangerous, may be destructive; and yet not be so unconstitutional as to justify the Judges in refusing to give them effect." George Mason agreed that judges "could declare an unconstitutional law void. But with regard to every law, however unjust, oppressive or pernicious, which did not come plainly under this description, they would be under the necessity as judges to give it a free course."



Asia
Many Asian cultures traditionally view good governance as rule by leaders who are benevolent and virtuous, and therefore rule of law is a governmental principle that many Asians hesitate to embrace. One study indicates that throughout East Asia, only South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong have societies that are robustly committed to a law-bound state. According to Awzar Thi, a member of the Asian Human Rights Commission, the rule of law in Thailand, Cambodia, and most of Asia is weak or nonexistent:
Apart from a number of states and territories, across the continent there is a huge gulf between the rule of law rhetoric and reality. In Thailand, the police force is an organized crime gang. In Cambodia, judges are proxies for the ruling political party….That a judge may harbor political prejudice or apply the law unevenly are the smallest worries for an ordinary criminal defendant in Asia. More likely ones are: Will the police fabricate the evidence? Will the prosecutor bother to show up? Will the judge fall asleep? Will I be poisoned in prison? Will my case be completed within a decade?
In countries such as China and Vietnam, the transition to a market economy has been a major factor in a move toward the rule of law, because a rule of law is important to foreign investors and to economic development. It remains unclear whether the rule of law in countries like China and Vietnam will be limited to commercial matters or will spill into other areas as well, and if so whether that spillover will enhance prospects for related values such as democracy and human rights.. The rule of law in China has been widely discussed and debated by both legal scholars and politicians in China.
In India, the longest constitutional text in the history of the world has governed that country since 1950. Although the Constitution of India may have been intended to provide details that would limit the opportunity for judicial discretion, the more text there is in a constitution the greater opportunity the judiciary may have to exercise judicial review. According to Indian journalist Harish Khare, "The rule of law or rather the Constitution  in danger of being supplanted by the rule of judges."
Japan had centuries of tradition prior to World War II during which there were laws, but they were not a central organizing principle for society, and they did not constrain the powers of government. As the twenty-first century began, the percentage of people who were lawyers and judges in Japan remained very low relative to western Europe and the United States, and legislation in Japan tended to be terse and general, leaving much discretion in the hands of bureaucrats.


Organizations and scholarly works

Many organizations and scholars have advocated for the rule of law, and have taken positions regarding which interpretation of that concept they prefer.


International Commission of Jurists
In 1959, an international gathering of over 185 judges, lawyers, and law professors from 53 countries, meeting in New Delhi and speaking as the International Commission of Jurists, made a declaration as to the fundamental principle of the rule of law. This was the Declaration of Delhi. They declared that the rule of law implies certain rights and freedoms, that it implies an independent judiciary, and that it implies social, economic and cultural conditions conducive to human dignity. The Declaration of Delhi did not, however, suggest that the rule of law requires legislative power to be subject to judicial review.



United Nations
The Secretary-General of the United Nations defines the rule of law as:
a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.
The General Assembly has considered rule of law as an agenda item since 1992, with renewed interest since 2006 and has adopted resolutions at its last three sessions.The Security Council has held a number of thematic debates on the rule of law, and adopted resolutions emphasizing the importance of these issues in the context of women, peace and security, children in armed conflict,and the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The Peacebuilding Commission has also regularly addressed rule of law issues with respect to countries on its agenda.


International Bar Association
The Council of the International Bar Association passed a resolution in 2009 endorsing a substantive or "thick" definition of the rule of law:
An independent, impartial judiciary; the presumption of innocence; the right to a fair and public trial without undue delay; a rational and proportionate approach to punishment; a strong and independent legal profession; strict protection of confidential communications between lawyer and client; equality of all before the law; these are all fundamental principles of the Rule of Law. Accordingly, arbitrary arrests; secret trials; indefinite detention without trial; cruel or degrading treatment or punishment; intimidation or corruption in the electoral process, are all unacceptable. The Rule of Law is the foundation of a civilised society. It establishes a transparent process accessible and equal to all. It ensures adherence to principles that both liberate and protect. The IBA calls upon all countries to respect these fundamental principles. It also calls upon its members to speak out in support of the Rule of Law within their respective communities.



World Justice Project
The World Justice Project, an organization specializing in the promotion of rule of law, bases its definition upon 16 factors and 68 sub-factors, organized under the following set of four principles, or bands:
1. The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law;
2. The laws are clear, publicized, stable and fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property;
3. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered and enforced is accessible, fair and efficient;
4. Access to justice is provided by competent, independent, and ethical adjudicators, attorneys or representatives, and judicial officers who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.
The World Justice Project used to be part of the American Bar Association but in 2009 became a free-standing non-profit, its main goal being to promote adherence to the rule of law throughout the world.


Joseph Raz
The influential political theorist Joseph Raz identified several principles that may be associated with the rule of law in some (but not all) societies. Raz's principles encompass the requirements of guiding the individual's behaviour and minimizing the danger that results from the exercise of discretionary power in an arbitrary fashion, and in this last respect he shares common ground with the constitutional theorists A. V. Dicey, Friedrich Hayek and E. P. Thompson. Some of Raz's principles are as follows:
That laws should be prospective rather than retroactive.
Laws should be stable and not changed too frequently, as lack of awareness of the law prevents one from being guided by it.
There should be clear rules and procedures for making laws.
The independence of the judiciary has to be guaranteed.
The principles of natural justice should be observed, particularly those concerning the right to a fair hearing.
The courts should have the power of judicial review over the way in which the other principles are implemented.
The courts should be accessible; no man may be denied justice.
The discretion of law enforcement and crime prevention agencies should not be allowed to pervert the law.
According to Raz, the validity of these principles depends upon the particular circumstances of different societies, whereas the rule of law generally "is not to be confused with democracy, justice, equality (before the law or otherwise), human rights of any kind or respect for persons or for the dignity of man". Dicey emphasized three aspects of the rule of law: (1) no one can be punished or made to suffer except for a breach of law proved in an ordinary court; (2) no one is above the law and everyone is equal before the law regardless of social, economic, or political status; and (3) the rule of law includes the results of judicial decisions determining the rights of private persons.


Relation to economics

One important aspect of the rule-of-law initiatives is the study and analysis of the rule of law’s impact on economic development. The rule-of-law movement cannot be fully successful in transitional and developing countries without a answer to the question: does the rule of law matter for economic development or not? Constitutional economics is the study of the compatibility of economic and financial decisions within existing constitutional law frameworks, and such a framework includes government spending on the judiciary which in many transitional and developing countries is completely controlled by the executive. It is useful to distinguish between the two methods of corruption of the judiciary: corruption by the executive branch, in contrast to corruption by private actors.
The standards of constitutional economics can be used during annual budget process, and if that budget planning is transparent then the rule of law may benefit. The availability of an effective court system, to be used by the civil society in situations of unfair government spending and executive impoundment of previously authorized appropriations, is a key element for the success of the rule-of-law endeavor.
The Rule of Law is especially important as an influence on the economic development in developing and transitional countries. To date, the term “rule of law” has been used primarily in the English-speaking countries, and it is not yet fully clarified even with regard to such well-established democracies as, for instance, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, or Japan. A common language between lawyers of common law and civil law countries as well as between legal communities of developed and developing countries is critically important for research of links between the rule of law and real economy.



In schools

The rule of law is generally acknowledged to be a cornerstone of orderly, organized society, including within schools. The Sudbury School is an example of a school where laws are always promulgated in writing, and careful records are kept of the body of precedents surrounding each rule. There is no opening, however small, for arbitrary or capricious authority to step in.


In conflict with natural law

Upholding the rule of law can sometimes require the punishment of those who commit offenses that are justifiable under natural law but not statutory law. Heidi M. Hurd raises the example of a battered woman who rightly believes that there is a strong probability that her husband will eventually attempt to kill her and her children unless she preemptively kills him. If the law does not permit the acquittal of those who claim self-defense in the absence of an imminent threat of harm, then the woman must be punished, or "what will become of the rule of law? For law seemingly ceases to be law if judges are entitled to rethink its wisdom in every case to which it applies and to disregard it whenever it is inferior to the rule that they would fashion."






(source:wikipedia)

No comments:

Post a Comment