Well-meaning politicians are reverting to ‘arbitrary control by government’, which is the reverse of the ‘rule of law’, CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings writes in a new publication, by LexisNexis, discussing the Rule of Law in the Pacific. The publication also carries an important article on miscarriages of justice cases by Bob Moles and Bibi Sangha.
LexisNexis and CLA promote rule of law
11 June 2013 – Australia should guard against the tide of change encapsulated by the “Law of Rule” rather than the “Rule of Law”, Civil Liberties Australia’s CEO, Bill Rowlings, writes in an article released this month.
LexisNexis® Pacific, the information and techno supplier for legal and corporate markets, features CLA’s article as the lead in the second edition of ‘Advancing Together’, a bi-annual newsletter providing in-depth analysis on the Rule of Law across the Pacific.
“In this issue of ‘Advancing Together’ readers will see testament to our ongoing commitment to advancing the Rule of Law by ensuring the provision of accessible, accurate sources of legal information both here in the Pacific and across the globe,” said Dr Marc Peter, LexisNexis Pacific executive director of commercial and solutions. Describing CLA as “an activist group dedicated to the promotion of civil liberties and the improvement of democratic processes,”, he explained the core of Rowlings’ arguments.
“Rowlings states that exceptional politicians pose a significant threat to the rule of law; that they are in fact “reverting to arbitrary control by government – the direct opposite of the rule of law.”
“Exceptional legislators are the greatest danger to the rule of law and civil liberties,” said Rowlings. “Men and women of great worth care so extraordinarily for their community that, in framing the rules of society, they make exceptions to deal with particular individuals or special groups now out of favour such as bikies or motorcycle clubs. Bikie laws are excessive compared with the normal operation of laws. What is more, Australia already has criminal laws that are more than adequate to deal with any bikie criminals,” said Rowlings.
“Law-making by exception is one of the most dangerous activities in civilised society: as such, by their own approach and standards, politicians should make a law against it!”
Citing legal scholars Stephen Bottomley and Simon Bronitt, Rowlings said: “A key idea [of the rule of law] is that no person should be punished except for a breach of law established in the ordinary manner before the courts. Another important component is that no person is above the law – that every person is subject to these laws without exception, thus ensuring equality before the law.
“This overturning of tradition is the ‘Law-of-Rule’, rather than the Rule of Law,” said Rowlings.
The publication ‘Advancing Together’ also features an update from The Rule of Law Institute of Australia, and insight into academics Bob Moles and Bibi Sangha’s joint study on ‘miscarriages of justice’, and how LexisNexis is bringing the South Pacific closer to the Rule of Law.
Click here to download ‘Advancing Together: Rule of Law Updates and Perspectives from Australia’ (PDF)