The rule of law as a distinct and separate concept is well over a thousand years old. It has legal and constitutional origins in Ancient Greece and Anglo-Saxon England.1
The fundamental basis of the rule of law is the notion that all members of any society are not above the law of the land, whether they are monarchs, politicians, the nobility, or indeed ordinary people. The rule of law itself is a concept that contends that everybody lives under the same jurisdiction, of the law of their particular land from its rulers and its lawmakers downwards.
At first appearance, the concept of the rule of law seems to be a straightforward one, yet there are disagreements about the exact nature of the ideals at the core of the concept itself. The critique below will thus discuss the extent to which today’s British state reflects the core ideas of the rule of law.
England was the country, as already mentioned, in which the concept of the rule of law was developed. The concept being influenced by the common law, Magna Carta, and the Bill of Rights of 1688 establishing the notion that the state should uphold the rule of law to protect its citizens, instead of ignoring the law and subjecting the people to their autocratic will.
Magna Carta was supposed to firmly establish the principle and concept of the rule of law and curtail the power of the state. In reality, the monarchy, despite often-repeated claims of accepting the concept of the rule of law, still held considerable power until the 18th century, when the Prime Minister started to make widespread use of the royal prerogative instead.
The British state regarded the concept of the rule of law as being a reflection of the strength of liberalism both as an ideology and principle as espoused by John Locke and others. Liberalism as an ideological principle within the British Constitution reflected the increasing .influence of capitalism, as well as being a result of the legal and political supremacy of Parliament.