The Rule of Law: Establishing Rules, Maintaining Order, Resolving Disputes and Protecting Freedoms

The rule of law is a fundamental principle that is essential for any society to function properly. It is the basis for establishing rules, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting freedoms and rights. This concept has been around since ancient times, with the oldest known evidence of a legal code being the tablets from the ancient city of Ebla (Tell Mardikh, in modern-day Syria).The constitutions of virtually every nation establish a “rule of law”, the principle according to which all individuals, institutions and entities in the country, including the government itself, are equally accountable to laws enacted by the central government. This means that no one is above the law and everyone must abide by it.

Aristotle wrote: “The law must govern.”In both democracies and dictatorships, a lack of the rule of law can be found due to negligence or ignorance of the law. The rule of law is more likely to deteriorate if a government does not have sufficient corrective mechanisms to restore it. Laws are enforced through sanctions or legal consequences and they provide for compensation when someone or their property is harmed. Constitutional law is the basis of all other procedural and substantive laws that apply in the country. It establishes the authority of the government as well as the rights of citizens.

For example, under typical state law, it is a crime to cause physical injury to another person without justification. Doing so generally constitutes a crime of assault. The third main objective of the Constitution is to protect the personal freedom of citizens against government intrusions. In this sense, the rule of law contrasts with autocracy, dictatorship or oligarchy, in which the rulers are above the law. As one of the best-recognized examples of constitutional law, the Constitution of the United States establishes three branches of federal government, the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, defines the relationship of the federal government with the states, and establishes the rights of individuals. In a society such as that of the United States, laws inform daily life in a wide variety of ways and are reflected in numerous branches of law.

Crimes against the federal, state, or local community itself are subject to criminal law. One of its functions is to protect various freedoms and rights from unreasonable violations or intrusions by individuals, organizations, or governments. In most modern nations, constitutional law divides power between three functional branches: executive, legislative and judiciary. This ensures that no one branch has too much power over another and that all branches are accountable to each other.