The concept of the rule of law as proposed by A.V. Dicey is that every man is subject to the law and to the ordinary courts and that no one is above the law. Each officer, from the Prime Minister to the Constable, is under the same responsibility for each act accomplished without any legal justification.
Dicey gave three meanings to the rule of law: –
1. Supremacy of the law
It is a total absence of arbitrary power. No man is punishable or can be legally made to suffer bodily or as property, except in the case of a distinct violation of the law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary route by a person in a position of authority.
2. Equality before the law
No man is above the law. Any man, whatever his rank and condition, is subject to the common law of the country and amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary Courts.
3. The Constitution is the result of the common law of the Land
There is no written constitution in England and Court decisions in particular cases define the rights of individual and general constitutional principles.
The theory of A. V. dicey has been criticized on the following grounds: –
- Dicey ignored the privilege and immunity the crown enjoys under the guise of the constitution that the king cannot do wrong. So there is a constitutional magazine saying that the king cannot do wrong, but according to Dicey’s concept it is clearly shown that he does not want the power of the king to be passed, for the decisions of the king to be followed according to tyranny or according to arbitrary power.
- He also challenged the statute, the references, which confirm that the leaders cannot be challenged in ordinary courts.
- He ignored the growth of international tribunals, but recognized the emergence of administrative law almost after 1885.
- He has always supported individual freedom, but to say that the king has discretion or the king has power is wrong.
- He had always been a proponent of individual freedom, if that is the case, if the discretion given to the king or ruler was contrary to the rule of law, according to Dicey. The rule of law cannot be validated, even the power of a Supreme Court judge will then oppose the Rule of Law, according to the concept proposed by Dicey.
- Dicey also misunderstood the French concept of Administrative Law (Droit Administratif) in his theory, but later he recognized these courts and administrative law through his theory.