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Features of the Rule of Law - The Law Must Be Accessible

THE LAW MUST BE ACCESSIBLE AND SO FAR AS POSSIBLE INTELLEGIBLE, CLEAR AND PREDICTABLE


ACCESSIBILITY is due to three reasons:
1 - people should be able to find out what they must do or not do on pain of criminal penalty;
2 - even in civil law, people needs to know their rights and obligations;
3 - the successful conduct of trade, investment and business generally is promoted by a body of accessible legal rules governing commercial rights and obligations.

This is why accessibility is clearly stated by courts all over the world (House of Lords, ECtHR, etc.). The degree of observation of this rule varies according to the countries, with differences between civil law systems (where law is mainly codified) and common law systems (where many efforts have been made to try to make legislation clear and intelligible).

Regarding the UK, an important step was the accession to the EU and the promulgation of the European Communities Act 1972, which provided for the primacy of European law over national law. So the UK became bound to comply with the Treaties, regulations, directives and decisions of the ECJ. In any case, the main requirement is that the rule laid down should be CLEAR.

di Luca Porcella
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