The Rule of Law Hardcover – 4 Feb 2010
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About the Author
Tom Bingham, 'the most eminent of our judges' (Guardian), held office successively as Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and Senior Law Lord of the United Kingdom. He became a life peer, as Baron Bingham of Cornhill in the County of Powys, on becoming Lord Chief Justice in 1996. In 2005 he was appointed a Knight of the Garter, the first professional judge to be so honoured. He retired in 2008, and in the same year was elected by the Institut de France as the first winner of the Prize for Law awarded by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.
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Top Customer Reviews
He lets the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights bellow for themselves. He follows the development of Habeas Corpus, and lets us contrast this with Guantanamo. As you would expect with a judge, everything, eventually becomes either right or wrong. The ambiguity of the West's response to Terrorism is anathema to him. Let the Sky's fall.
So, in my praise of this book ,also comes my reservation. Individuals allow their behaviour in societies be guided by laws, to which they have some input and to which they give consent. If done impartially, judgements can be accepted. Laws made by dictators are invalid from their inception, (so, no, you cant just be obeying orders). Fine on the first bit, what do you do about the second bit?
So the specific unease. What do we do about assassinations ordered by democratically elected politicians, done in the name of protecting society from terrorists? How far do we go?
I write this in the week when Osama Bin Laden was killed. I am not sure if the killing was legal, per se, though I can see how it was justified. I think that if he had been captured alive, there would have been an almighty legal tangle about where to jail him, where to try him etc. And yet he was a homicidal maniac, with quite a following. Also I am aware of the Tunisian revolution, sparked by a youth committing suicide in despair at this treatment by a corrupt government. The rule of the people overthrew the government, not the rule of law.Read more ›
You will not regret shelling out a tenner or so for this book and will be rewarded with a concise explanation of what law is, what it does, how it protects us and why we need it so much - written by a man whose crystal clear insights are a joy. Do it. Read it.
It's worth the cover money just to learn exactly why it is the Iraq invasion was illegal - but is much, much more than that.
"...that all persons and authorities within the state, whether public or private, should be bound by and entitled to the benefit of laws publicly made, taking effect (generally ) in the future and publicly administered in the courts."
and its origins and formulation:
"It is better for the law to rule than one of the citizens" - Aristotle
and what happens when it fails:
"The hallmarks of a regime which flouts the rule of law are, alas, all too familiar: the midnight knock on the door, the sudden disappearance, the show trial, the subjection of prisoners to genetic experiment, the confession extracted by torture...."
The second chapter describes the legal milestones in its development from the Magna Carta to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A key feature is that it seems few of the participants thought they were being especially innovative. The bulk of the book is concerned with working through the various aspects such as due process and a fair trial. A lot of attention is paid to human rights and I was actually surprised how uncontroversial they should be. It becomes obvious that really not even the poorest countries have any excuse not to uphold these ideals.
Inevitably there is a long chapter on the US and UK response to the terrorism, in which it becomes clear that both countries in different ways have helped the terrorist cause by gnawing away at our liberty.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really helpful book for Law undergrads and non-undergrads. It has some complicated writing at times and not always to the point. Read morePublished 5 days ago by K.R
A very compelling read on what it means to be a lawful society. Drawing from his experience and example gained from his career as a Law Lord, Bingham argues eloquently his views on... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Superb observations of our social development and the importance of government respecting it's own laws. Read morePublished 1 month ago by drteeth
Brilliant and well written. Easily understandable for someone without legal or philosophical training.Published 4 months ago by Verena
Lord Bingham's The Rule of Law is in depth but easy to read. In fact it is an enjoyable read that is difficult to put down. Essential reading for any law or politics student. Read morePublished 4 months ago by MrTLearning
Although the sentence structure can be at times longwinded or complex this book has helped improve my understanding of the rule of law and the complexity has actually helped me... Read morePublished 5 months ago by MsC