The rule of law may be defined as the absolute supremacy or predominance of law over everybody, both the ruler and the ruled and all decisions taken in a country. The doctrine of the rule of law is associated with the practice of democracy. There can be no democracy without the rule of law and vice versa.
PRINCIPLES OF RULE OF LAW
1) The Supremacy of the Law: This principle means that the law is above everyone, whether rich or poor, ruler or ruled. In order words, the supremacy of the rule of law therefore restrict the actions of individual citizens by defining the limits of the power granted to those in authority.
2) Impartiality or Equality of Citizens before the Law: Whatever might be the position of a person in the society where the law is violated, the offender must be tried in the ordinary court of the land. The judiciary should be independent and impartial.
3) Liberty of Individuals: It deals with personal liberty of citizens in the society. The fundamental human rights of the citizens must be adequately protected.
PROBLEMS TO THE RULE OF LAW
1) Immunity: Immunity is the special right granted to certain individuals in position of authority which shield them from prosecution while in office regardless of the offence committed. Such people are diplomats, presidents and governors. This is a limitation against the rule of law.
2) Administrative Tribunal: They are set up in some countries to try erring public officers. While ordinary citizens are tried in the ordinary courts.
3) Delegated Legislation: Delegated legislation refers to laws and orders promulgated by bodies other than parliaments. This is against the rule of law.
4) Special Courts: In Nigeria, tribunals are set up to try certain corruption cases of public officials. Those tried in this special court seldom felt they do not get fair hearing (Such as the Oputa panel).
5) Over Crowding of the Court: Cases are delayed sometimes as a result of insufficient judges to handle cases and this result into keeping accused person for too long.
6) Ignorance and Poverty: Many die in silence as a result of ignorance as they fail to pursue their case in the court of law.
7) Emergency Period: Citizens of a country may be denied some of their human rights during state of emergency. Rights such as freedom of movement when curfew is declared during emergency.
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