In defence of the Rule of Law | 2015 Report

 “This publication identifies with commendable clarity areas where, even in our ancient democracy, some of the component parts of the rule of law are being ignored or neglected. It is an important contribution to efforts to maintain and enhance the rule of law in the interest of economic growth and justice.” 

Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell KCMG QC, Director of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law

In the United Kingdom, the rule of law is a concept sometimes taken for granted. Laws are expected to be public (so that we can find out what they say), certain (so that we know where we stand) and prospective (so that we cannot break laws that do not yet exist). These principles represent the cornerstones of our liberty, and are one of the main reasons that the UK attracts global businesses and investors.

However, though it may not be obvious, all is not well.  The very foundations of the rule of law in the UK are weakening. In this report, we point to key areas threatening the rule of law in a business context. In particular, we describe threats to the rule of law including excessive executive power, retroactivity, uncertainty, unmanageability, and changes in the burden of proof.

The rule of law is essential to many aspects of human progress, to the underpinning of economic activity and to the development of society. Over a long period, it has delivered enormous benefits across the world. If we strive to protect it, the rule of law will protect and benefit us.

If you would like to discuss our report in more detail or would like to discuss how the rule of law affects you and your business, please contact us.

“English law is the most commonly used system in international business and dispute resolution, with both UK-based firms and others from across the world depending on the fairness and certainty it offers. These are the foundations upon which trade and investment decisions are made, and it should be consistently applied and protected.”  
Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, TheCityUK

“The UK is admired for its legal system and companies see the rule of law as one of the most important factors when deciding where to invest, alongside the ease of doing business and political stability. The UK traditionally does well on all three fronts, but we cannot afford to be complacent. Investors need transparency and certainty not just over how laws and regulations are made, but also how they are implemented.”
Paul Drechsler CBE, President, CBI

“The health of the rule of law is vital to London’s position as an international business centre of choice. Anything contributing to its erosion is a threat not only to UK-based businesses, but also to international businesses seeking to invest in and trade with this country.”
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive, London First