Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 12, 2017 (SKNIS): The Honourable Justice Adrian Saunders, Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), offered in his experienced view what he thinks is the Rule of Law at the Government of National Unity’s Good Governance Lecture Series held at the Sir Cecil Jacobs Auditorium of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) on March 09.
In his main address, Justice Saunders, who has almost 40 years practicing law with 12 of those years as a Judge of the CCJ, addressed the questions “What exactly do we mean when we speak of the Rule of Law?” and “What are the elements that comprise this precious principle?”
“In my view, The Rule of Law means a lot more than its most basic ingredient and those basic ingredients have usually been listed: firstly, the making of laws in a public manner—the laws being accessible to the population; secondly, the laws being made to take effect generally in the future; thirdly, the laws must be publicly administered by courts that are independent and impartial,” said Justice Saunders.
“In other words at its most basic, the Rule of Law signifies the sovereignty of law over arbitrariness. Laws are made by a Parliament of persons who are elected, and laws are made in a transparent manner—people can go to the House of Assembly, see when the laws are made, and the laws are administered not by the people in the Parliament who make them but by an independent body court that looks at the law and interprets it and applies it,” he added.
However, Justice Saunders said that that is not enough.
“So, at its most basic, that is what the Rule of Law implies, but that is not a sufficient condition for the Rule of Law because that occurred in fascist Germany and that occurred in apartheid South Africa—laws were made; they were made by Parliaments—Hitler was elected—so it is not sufficient to have those basic ingredients in order for the Rule of Law to truly prosper,” Justice Saunders said, while highlighting that “what is also important is that those basic ingredients should be supplemented by legal accountability; people who operate the law need to be accountable.”
He said that with the law there must be fairness and the law must operate in a fair manner, particularly by respecting minorities.