The State We’re in: Addressing Threats & Challenges to the Rule of Law

This report looks at the importance of the Rule of Law as a legal concept fundamental to the proper functioning of our society, and at the various ways it has been eroded in recent years, both now and prior to the pandemic.

The rule of law is not an idealistic or abstract concept without any real consequences for the general public. It is the notion that all are equal before the law – both individuals and the State.

However, the stark conclusion of the report is that this, and any future Government, must wake up to the country’s worrying trajectory we are on and start to reinstate the UK’s longstanding adherence to the Rule of Law, ensuring it is understood, respected and maintained if we want to preserve our reputation as a shining light for democracy around the world.


The rule of law is a set of principles, fundamental to our constitution, that seeks to ensure that everyone, including the State itself, is bound by, and entitled to the benefit of, publicly-made laws administered in the courts. It is vital, both for the public at large, who expect the State to behave in a responsible manner and for the marginalised, to ensure due respect for their rights too.

The stability created by our longstanding rule of law has wide-reaching benefits, from providing a strong system for commerce, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and democracy to thrive, to strengthening international relations.

The full report can be read here.

JUSTICE is grateful to Clifford Chance LLP and Travers Smith LLP for their pro bono research in support of the report, as well as JRSST Charitable Trust and the Legal Education Foundation for their important contribution to this work.