Civic Education

Limitations of the rule of law

Limitationsof Rule of Law

1) Immunity: Immunity is the special right granted to certain individuals in position of authority which shield them from prosecution while in office regardless of the offence committed. Such people are diplomats, presidents and governors. This is a limitation against the rule of law.

2) Administrative Tribunal: They are set up in some countries to try erring public officers. While ordinary citizens are tried in the ordinary courts.

3) Delegated Legislation: Delegated legislation refers to laws and orders promulgated by bodies other than parliaments. This is against the rule of law.

4) Special Courts: In Nigeria, tribunals are set up to try certain corruption cases of public officials. Those tried in this special court seldom felt they do not get fair hearing (Such as the Oputa panel).

5) Over Crowding of the Court: Cases are delayed sometimes as a result of insufficient judges to handle cases and this result into keeping accused person for too long.

6) Ignorance and Poverty: Many die in silence as a result of ignorance as they fail to pursue their case in the court of law.

7) Emergency Period: Citizens of a country may be denied some of their human rights during state of emergency. Rights such as freedom of movement when curfew is declared during emergency.

Solutions to problems of Rule of Law

  1. The supremacy of rule of law ensures no person can claim to be above law.
  2. It ensures adherence of principles of natural justice like: giving reasonable opportunity, impartiality of decision, etc.
  3. It leads to fairness, both substantive and procedural.
  4. It leads to respect of how the system works, including those who are leaders.
  5. It ensures that leaders follow the proper procedure for creating new laws, and they respect it when the courts tell them those laws are not enforceable.
  6. It is this system which prevents dictatorships.
  7. Rule of law regulate society, protects people and helps to enforce rights.
  8. It helps to solve conflicts.
  9. Rule of law prevent or deter people from behaving in a manner that negatively affects the quality of life of other people, therefore the consequences of breaking the law often fit the crime.

Group Discussion of the Process of Rule of Law


  1. What are the limitations of Rule of Law
  2. List the solutions to problems of Rule of Law

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