What would the UK be like if there wasn’t the Rule of Law – where people (and organisations) could do whatever they wanted, and could simply ignore any laws they didn’t like? Whilst each of us might have one or two laws that we’d rather ignore given the chance, the consequence of there not being a Rule of Law would be that most of us would live in fear of those who were mightier. It would be ‘rule of the strongest’ – whether that meant stronger people or stronger organisations. Probably the strongest of them all, of course, is government.
The Article 50 Case, on which the Supreme Court has ruled today, is the best example of the Rule of Law in action. At its core, it is about ensuring that the government (which most people would agree has a lot of power over us) cannot just do exactly what it likes. It, too, has to abide by the Rule of Law – in this case, the requirement that it seeks the approval of Parliament before it takes the action that it wants.
When this Case reached the High Court last Autumn, and the judges ruled against the government, many of us were shocked by headlines such as ‘Enemies of the People’, which castigated judges for applying the law. It showed either a deep misunderstanding of the Rule of Law – or a wilful attempt to mislead people and undermine our rights and freedoms.
That’s why the Citizenship Foundation – which is all about helping young people develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to be active and engaged citizens in order to strengthen our democracy – sees it as a duty to help young people understand what the Article 50 Case is all about.
We pleased to be working with the Bar Council to produce a free teaching resource which we will send to every secondary school next week. This is a fantastic opportunity for teachers to ensure every single young person learns a key life lesson – to help them take their place as confident citizens.
For more information, or to request your copy of the resource, please contact: