Defending the rule of law

The concept of the ‘rule of law’ is fundamental not only to ethical legal practice but also to the maintenance of democracy and basic freedoms. This concept enshrines essential principles such as the supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability, fairness, separation of powers, transparency and the avoidance of arbitrary decisions, including the violation of human rights.

The new report from Freedom House entitled “A leaderless struggle for democracy” offers cause for concern since it outlines a progressive erosion in the rule of law worldwide especially in a number of established democracies. This is a worrying trend with serious implications across society. We would do well to remember the words of Edward R. Murrow, the legendary U.S. journalist and broadcaster who warned that “we cannot defend freedom abroad, by deserting it at home.”