An account of the lawyers who helped — over centuries — to develop and protect civil liberties, human rights and the Rule of Law. Also discusses breaches of the Rule of Law in modern cases and in response to terrorism. Champions of the Rule of Law looks at an overarching principle of English law. It describes how a powerful and fundamental rule came about and how it has been preserved in the face of attempts to circumvent it. Standing at the heart of all matters of justice — and now exported to many parts of the world — the Rule of Law holds, in short, that the law applies in equal measure to everyone. No matter how high, mighty or privileged someone may be, or whatever claim or allegation is being made, all those coming before it should always be treated in just the same way as anyone else will be.
Events in both modern times and across legal history readily demonstrate the sometimes precarious nature of the rule and the need for ‘champions’ who are prepared to uphold and defend it—and whilst the need for such a rule may seem obvious on any balanced view of how justice should be dispensed, the central importance of the rule is by no means intuitive to some people. This means that there is always a need to re-iterate the purpose of the rule, the arguments behind it and to understand the mechanisms which safeguard and protect it. Whenever the Rule of Law does fall under threat, whether due to arrogance, claims to special treatment, misguided understandings, dubious explanations or lack of due process, there is a need for people of the calibre of those described in this book to step forward. Quite apart from the book’s interest for lawyers, historians and students it will appeal to anyone seeking reassurance that justice is truly blind, fair, even-handed and accessible to all. With a Foreword by Lord Steyn.
Foreword Lord Steyn
About the author
- Sir Edward Coke
- Sir Matthew Hale
- Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus
- Cesare Beccaria
- Thomas Jefferson
- Jeremy Bentham
- Thomas Erskine
- Sir Samuel Romilly
- Sir William Garrow
- Criminal Law Commissioners
- Terrorism and Civil Liberties
- Summing Up
John Hostettler is one of the UK’s most acclaimed authors on English legal history and legal biography, whose works span a wide range of related topics. Here he describes the Rule of Law in all its facets as well as giving examples of attacks upon it. He was a practising solicitor in London for thirty-five years as well as undertaking political and civil liberties cases in Nigeria, Germany and Aden. His earlier books include several biographical and historical works and his books for Waterside Press include:
Sir William Garrow (2010);
- Thomas Erskine and Trial by Jury (2010);
- Cesare Beccaria (2010);
- The Criminal Jury Old and New;
- Fighting for Justice -The History and Origins of Adversary Trial;
- A History of Criminal Justice in England and Wales (2009); and
- Hanging in the Balance – A History of the Abolition of Capital Punishment in Britain (with Dr Brian P. Block).
Lord Steyn is a former Law Lord whose arguments and speeches concerning application of the rule are amongst the most influential of any judge or jurist.