The Rule of Law and Emergency Response


The rule of law is a political morality that exists in a society that follows certain principles. Such a society’s response to emergencies is impacted by the rule of law. In addition, the rule of law is related to other liberal political morality ideals. This article describes these ideals and their relationship to the rule of law.

Principles of the Rule of Law

Aristotle defined the rule of law as a government by law and by men. He wrote in Politics that “a government should be ruled by the rule of law, and not by the will of the people.” Similarly, American Bar Association President Chesterfield Smith summarised the concept when discussing the Watergate scandal in 1973: “No man is above the law.” Everyone is protected by the law.

The rule of law is an ideal based on a set of values. Among these values are democracy, social justice, and economic freedom. These values are interrelated but have a common core. Rule of law is a value that people value highly. It reduces the peremptory, arbitrary nature of power and creates a mutuality of constraint. It also aims to limit the asymmetry of power between the ruling and the ruled.

Characteristics of a society governed by the Rule of Law

A society governed by the Rule of Law is a society where the rule of law controls the conduct of public affairs. The government has broad powers to intervene in any dispute or to protect the general welfare. However, a society governed by the Rule of law may also have informal social norms that govern certain situations and settle disputes. While these norms are not considered as a substitute for positive law, they are similar to it.

Moreover, a society governed by the Rule of law is an environment that fosters equality of citizens before the law. Its principles are meant to protect citizens’ fundamental rights and prevent them from being violated by powerful people or institutions.

Impact of the Rule of Law on a society’s response to emergencies

The rule of law impacts a society’s response to emergencies in many ways. It may help to amplify emergency powers, or it may hinder them. Emergency powers may be necessary and proportionate, and they reflect the government’s commitment to protecting its citizens.

Rule of law protects human rights and requires governments to respond to emergencies using legal forms. As such, governments tend to use legal forms to deal with emergencies.

Relationship of the Rule of Law to other liberal political morality ideals

The Rule of Law is a formal concept, but it has important practical value for people. This notion helps to reduce the arbitrary nature of power by creating a bond of reciprocity and mutual constraint. It also helps to mitigate the asymmetry of political power.

The Rule of Law is a key ideal of liberal political morality. It demands that people in power exercise power within well-established norms and that the government operate within a legal framework. It also ensures that those in authority are held accountable through the law if any unauthorized action is suspected.