The rule of law is a fundamental philosophy that reinforces legal equality stating that there is no citizen or institution above the law. No one person or establishment regardless of personal characteristics may have legally exclusive privileges. It is much rather a set of values concerning how we relate to one another than a set-in-stone rule dominating legal framework; these values are shared throughout all of society as they align with international human rights. It opposes tyranny and oligarchy which place leaders above the law.
This philosophy consists of four foundational principles: accountability, “just law”, open government, and accessible justice. Accountability is the idea that even the government is under the law and all entities can be held legally responsible for their actions. The second principle emphasizes that the law is clear and publicized, and everyone affected by it should be aware of the depths of the law. The open government principle is that equitable, and effective procedures are used in the adoption, administration, adjudication, and enforcement of the legislation. The final universal principle of the rule of law is that justice is given promptly by capable and moral representatives and neutrals who are well-equipped and representative of their communities.
This collection of values can be seen in ancient legal systems as can be seen in Greece, India and Rome. Notable philosophers of this time, including Aristotle, have made references to this rule and advocated for it. He emphasizes that if necessary and beneficial, some people may be put in power but as servants of the law. The basis of this concept continues to be seen in society today.
The Magna Carta has also been an influential document due to the past global power held by England. It is stated that even the monarch must obey the laws, ultimately, establishing the rule of law to an extent. It ensured all citizens were governed by the laws. In legal situations, all people will be given equal consideration and all will be provided with a fair trial. The document ensures justice and freedom for the many democracies that it influenced.
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Following the rule of law's philosophy can make societies more informed and equal regarding legality. Countries whose legal systems are rooted in this concept have considerable benefits including known and accessible laws, independent Court systems, presumed innocent until proven otherwise, equal right to fair trial and minimized arbitrary arrests. Not only does this rule ensure all are equal, but it ensures that all affected by the law are active and informed in law-making processes. Democracy is amongst the most closely aligned systems of government to the rule of law. This concept openly encourages democratic practices as it keeps citizens in touch with the realities of the law.
Many current events, such as environmental awareness, social development and economic development, can prosper with the rule of law. The planet’s resources can be more equitably distributed and share obligations for environmental protection, those in positions of poverty can gain legal and economic opportunities, and commerce and business become more aligned with respect for others and the law.