Keith Ewing

History of a Dog’s Dinner

Keith Ewing and Conor Gearty, 6 February 1997

The rule of law means different things to different people, but at its core it means that government must be conducted in accordance with the law, and must have legal authority for its actions. The principle was established as long ago as 1765, in Entick v. Carrington, a seminal case in which the King’s Secretary issued a warrant authorising two messengers to enter the home of John Entick and search for seditious papers. There was neither common law nor statutory authority for this action, which Entick successfully challenged in the courts, recovering damages from the hapless messengers (said to be ‘as much responsible as their superiors’) for the trespass to his property.

Britain is not a very corrupt state but insofar as it is corrupt, the reason is the paucity of participants in public life, a paucity that state funding for political parties would encourage.

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