The Future of the Rule of Law

This paper addresses an issue which is crucial to the success of any constitutional settlement or renewal of our democracy. Adherence to the rule of law should be a cornerstone of any attempt to rebuild trust in political institutions and revitalise engagement in the democratic process.

The Future of the Rule of Law specifically argues:

  • for a change in political culture – to one where ministers respect due process
  • for a change in the legislative process – to ensure that Parliament has the time and powers it needs to scrutinise and improve laws before they reach the statue book
  • that the Victorian concept of Parliamentary sovereignty is an outmoded fiction – and that Britain is ruled by a balanced combination of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary
  • that governments must respect the institutions of the rule of law
  • that there is a widespread sense of powerlessness and alienation from the political process – which should be addressed by a serious debate about constitutional issues and a greater understanding of the value of the rule of law

The JUSTICE Futures series

The Future of the Rule of Law is the second in JUSTICE’s 50th anniversary ‘Futures’ series in which staff members and others raise interesting and provocative ideas about the future direction of policy in essay form. It does not necessarily represent JUSTICE policy, but it does draw on JUSTICE’s considerable experience as a leading human rights and law reform organisation


Roger Smith


1 November 2007

Download a copy of The Future of the Rule of Law