Law from a legal assistant’s point of view, week 22: The Rule of Law

By Quinton Lister, legal assistant

Rule of law. The restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws. 

My time as a legal assistant for a divorce attorney has been instructive and eye opening. One positive thing I have come to appreciate more fully is the miracle of the rule of law.  

I have been very skeptical of the law, even from a very young age (I think part of that is just I was always taught to respect authority yet not to take it simply “lying down”). Oftentimes, it is easy for me to say that those who are in power are there not so much because of some noble desire to serve the people but primarily (if not solely) to exercise power over people. My current experiences in the legal profession have not eliminated that view, but I have been pleasantly surprised that there are people who do respect and uphold the rule law. 

I do not need to agree with the law to respect the rule of law. I think the most effective lawyers and judges and legislators and litigants are the ones who recognize that to serve society’s interests best we must respect the rule of law (that’s how a democratic republic needs to work). No one is above the law and even though injustice exists, and for a just legal system to exist we need to be law-abiding people. 

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