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The Rule of Law

What is the Rule of Law?

Despite its longevity as a concept and its primacy as a reference point in public debate, 'the rule of law' has not always been well understood. Scholars, lawyers, judges and politicians have often struggled to define it and, even more so, struggled to reach consensus about its meaning.

Lord Bingham identified eight principles to define the rule of law consisting of clarity and certainty of the law, the use of law rather than discretion, equality before the law, the proper exercise of power, respect for human rights, access to dispute resolution for all, fair trial and respect for international law.

As well as introducing these principles to students, the project aims to give students an understanding of the fundamental concepts of equality, fairness, liberty and justice underpinning rule of law principles.

Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, Director of the Bingham Centre, introduces the rule of law to school students