In 1885, Albert Venn Dicey, a professor and leading constitutional scholar in England helped to popularise the phrase “the rule of law”. The three meanings which he gave to this phrase are:
No man is punishable or can be made to suffer in body or goods except for a distinct breach of law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary courts of the land.
No man is above the law, but that every man, whatever be his rank or condition, is subject to the ordinary law of the realm and amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals.
The principles of the constitutions are the result of judicial decisions determining the rights of private persons in particular cases brought before the courts.
Today, many other persons or organizations have interpreted and expounded upon the meaning of the rule of law
For instance, 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”.
The rule of law is the bedrock of today’s legal system and underpins the principles of the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The rule of law is fundamental to domestic, regional, and international peace. Additionally, it also ensures security and political stability and helps us to achieve economic and social progress and development. Moreover, the rule of law protects people’s rights and the fundamental freedoms of others.
As Vincentians, I encourage us to promote and uphold the rule of law in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Author: Jeshua Bardoo is a Vincentian Barrister-at-law and Solicitor. He is also a Chevening Scholar with an LLM International Human Rights Law. He can be contacted at [email protected]