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The rule of law

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The Magna Carta 1215 and the Bill of Rights 1688 were attempts made by people of the time to enforce the rule of law in Britain. The rule of law is a set of values or principles that are the cornerstone of our legal system. These principles are known or readily discoverable and therefore do not change without notice; are reasonably clear; apply prospectively, not retroactively; and enforced through public trials based upon rational procedural rules before arbiters independent of the state and all others. The purpose of the rule of law is to remove both the reality of injustice and the sense of injustice, thus preventing individuals from taking the law into their own hands as would occur under natural law or anarchy. The rule of law advocates that no one, not even Kings, politicians, government officials etc... are above the law. During the medieval period a transition took place in Britain that moved the feudal belief that the King was subject to law to the King being above the law. ...read more.


The Glorious Revolution was the result of a series of kings doing as they pleased against the rule of law. Clarke states: "In the sixteenth century in England the constitutional practice emerged that major changes in national policy were made by acts of parliament. In the early seventeenth century when King James I and his successors sought to rule by the prerogative and in particular to raise taxes by extra-parliamentary means, a conflict ensued with parliamentary forces and some sections of the judiciary." Following the revolution, the current monarch was replaced by Dutch protestant King William of Orange on the condition that he agree to the Bill of Rights 1688. The Bill of Rights imposed far greater restrictions upon the monarch then the Magna Carta had, and introduced many concepts considered part of the rule of law. Some examples of this are: Art1,2 which prevented the monarch from suspending or dispensing with the law and executing laws; Art10 disallowed excessive bail and fines, and cruel and unusual punishments. ...read more.


In relation to this case, Wade and Bradley state: "Such decisions stressed the value of personal liberty, and the necessity of protecting private property against official interference. At the same time, the remedy of habeas corpus was being developed. Formal adherence to the law was one of the public values of 18th century Britain, though not all the people gained equally from it." Thus the case of Entick v. Carrington set a precedent whereby the rule of law prevailed except where statute said otherwise. In conclusion, the rule of law safeguards liberty for citizens against arbitrary use of power by the government. The Magna Carta was a barely enforceable document but put the rule of law out in the open for all to see, and the Bill of Rights giving further power towards enforcing the rule of law. Although the Magna Carta 1215 and the Bill of Rights 1688 may not have enforced the rule of law fully, they were indeed a step in the right direction. Kylie Willis SN: 04439554 LWB42 Law, Society and Justice Week 5 Self directed tutorial exercise 1 ...read more.

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