9 Dec 2012

The Rule of Law – part 2

Apologies for my long absence. I was on vacation in the Ukraine, but also occupied with a lot of course work for my current module at Open University. Also, the sheer crap I see daily in the news is a blight on my good mood and enthusiasm, so I avoided it for many weeks to rebuild my strength to carry on.

In returning to the Rule of Law, I hope to share with readers the wisdom of Lord Bingham, one of the most recognised legal minds of our times. On 16th November 2006 the Centre for Public Law held the sixth in the series of lectures in honour of Sir David Williams [Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of English Law and Emeritus Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University]. The lecture, simply entitled "The Rule of Law" was given by The Rt. Hon Lord Bingham of Cornhill KG, House of Lords. This lecture was later expanded into a fuller analysis and published by Penguin Books.


Above is the transcript of the lecture, and below is a video of the original lecture.

Lord Bingham argues that there are eight conditions for the rule of law to work:

  1. the law should apply equally to all;
  2. it should not be accessible only to the rich, meaning that disputes should be solved relatively cheaply;
  3. it must be easy to understand;
  4. it must protect fundamental human rights;
  5. it must be speedily enforced;
  6. the right to a fair trial is a cardinal requirement;
  7. public officials should not abuse their powers; and, finally,
  8. States should respect international law.

In the interest of keeping this post short, and to give readers time to assimilate and digest the two embedded files above, I will stop here and continue with an analysis of Lord Bingham’s lecture, as written by several legal authors.