To begin an overview of Law has a sovereign authority and there cannot be a law without sovereign authority it is too important to attempt to clarify the concept of law and sovereign authority.
A NATION or a state is, as has been said at the beginning of this work, a body politic, or a society of men united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by their combined strength.
From the very design that induces a number of men to form a society which has its common interests, and which is to act in concert, it is necessary that there should be established a Public Authority, to order and direct what is to be done by each in relation to the end of the association.
But person that has passed under the dominion of another is no longer a state, and can no longer avail itself directly of the law of nations.
The law of nations is the law of sovereigns; free and independent states are moral persons, whose rights and obligations we are to establish in this treatise.
Law has a sovereign authority and there cannot be a law without sovereign authority. Before explanation, we have to understand about the concept of Law and Sovereign authority.
- The Concept of Law:
Law, as it is the command of the Sovereign. It means,
(1) Law has its source in sovereign authority,
(2) Law is accompanied by sanctions, and
(3) The command to be a law should compel a course of conduct.
Being a command the law must flow from a determinate person or group of persons with the threat of displeasure if it is not obeyed. Sovereignty is, however, only a part of the state. So, in ultimate sense, law emanates from the state. Thus the term Law is sued to denote rules of conduct emanated from and enforced by the state. People living in an organized society have to follow certain common rules, otherwise peaceful living is impossible. It is the function of the State to enforce these rules.
In earlier times certain classless and individuals possesses special privileges and were judged by special law. The modern view is to apply the same law over all persons in the State and to give all persons equal rights and privileges for the protection of their human liberties. Democracy can remain only in a society of equals.
a) Definition of Law by Various Personalities:
“Law is the body of principles recognized and applied by the State in the administration of justice.”
“Law is that portion of the established habit and though of mankind which has gained distinct and formal recognition in the shape of uniform rules backed by the authority and power of the government”
This definition is practically the same as that of Holland.
Law is, “a rule of external human action enforced by the sovereign political authority”. From this definition it follows that there are three essential characteristics of law.
1. Law is a rule relating to the actions of human beings.
2. Law attempts to regulate the external actions of human beings.
3. Law is enforced by the State
Rules regarding human conduct necessary for peaceful living as well as for progress and development. Anson observes as follows: “The object of Law is Order, and the result of Order is that men are enabled to look ahead with some sort of security as to the future. Although human action cannot be reduced to the uniformities of nature, men have yet endeavored to reproduce by Law something approaching to this uniformity”
b) RULE OF LAW:
The rule of law is essential in any society where human rights are to be protected. It acts as a safeguard for human rights firstly by guaranteeing them legally and secondly providing a means for redresser where violations occur. Punishments awarded in such cases also serve a as deterrent against further abuse.
The rule of law requires a respect for the processes by which laws and decisions are made. In the draft manifesto for the rule of law with which JUSTICE launched its 50th anniversary year,
We identified seven principles to be upheld:
- Adherence to the rule of law as a cornerstone of domestic and foreign policy;
- A right of equality for all before and under the law;
- A right of access to justice for all;
- Protection for due process and the right to a fair trial;
- Independence of the judiciary and legal profession;
- Greater powers of Parliamentary scrutiny;
- Greater protection for the rights of individuals within the European Union.
The main distinction among “rule by law” and “rule of law” is important. Under the rule “by” law, law is a tool of the government, and the government is superior by law. Under the rule “of” law, no one is superior to law, including the government as well. The foundation of “rule of law” is an independent legal order. In rule of law, the power of law does not depend so much on law’s influential capabilities, but on its degree of autonomy, that is, the degree to which law is distinct and divides from other normative makeup such as politics and religion. As an independent legal order, rule of law has at least three meanings.
First, it is a regulator of government power. Second equality before law & last procedural and formal justice.
The concept of equality of all persons before law is the basis of what is called the Rule of Law. The Rule was summarized by Dicey as follows:
- The Rule of law states that, “no man is punishable or can be lawfully made to suffer in body or goods except for a distinct breach of law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary courts.” (Dicey). In other word, (a) there must be supremacy of law, (b) no one shall be punished except for definite breach of law and (c) the breach of law must be proved in a duly constituted court of law. No citizen can be arrested or imprisoned, unless he violates specifically any law of the country in force and is accused of a charge by the court. Thus the rule of law implies equal protection of law.
- In the second place, Rule of law means that, “no man is above law”. Every man whatever his rank or condition, is subject to the ordinary law of the State and amenable to the jurisdiction of ordinary tribunals. “What is law-legal right and legal obligation for me- must hold equally as such for all citizens. (Dicey). In other words, Rule of Law means (a) equality before the law, (b) every citizen is subject to the ordinary law of the land and (c) the citizen has to face trial in the same law courts, irrespective of his status or position in the society.
- In the third place, the Rule of Law is the result of statutes and judicial decisions determining the rights of private persons. Thus the constitutional law of the country follows from the ordinary law of the land.
The concept rule of law is capable of different interpretations by different people–
The concept rule of law has gradually developed through different philosophers like –
- Karl Marx,
- Joseph Raz and
- A.V. Dicey
Greek Philosopher Aristotle
Stated in his book ‘The Politics’ that ‘the rule of law is preferable to that of any individual’.
Instructs that the power of man is not absolute, but is rather controlled and limited by the requirements of a higher law
Positive & Natural law.
Cicero (106 – 43 BC):
True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting: it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. We cannot be freed from its obligations by Senate or People, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and for all times, and there will be one master and one ruler, that is, God, over us all, for He is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge.
Marxism insists that law represents the interests of the powerful within society.
The rule of law represents no more than a false idealization of law designed to reinforce the political structure and economic status quo in society.
Professor Joseph Raz:
The rule of law is a political ideal which a legal system may lack or may possess to a greater or lesser degree. It is also to be insisted that the rule of law is just one of the virtues which a legal system may possess and by which it is to be judged. It is not to be confused with democracy, justice, equality, human rights of any kind or respect for persons or for the dignity of man.
No punishment may be inflicted other than for a breach of the law.
Irrespective of rank and status all are equal under the law.
Rights and freedoms are best protected under the common law.
c) Regulation of Government Power
As a power regulator, rule of law has two main roles:
- It restrictions government arbitrariness and power abuse, as well as it enables the government more balanced and its policies more intelligent. Rule of law puts limits on the discretionary power of the government, including the power to changes laws. First, if we are to limit government caprice, rule of law requires the supremacy of law as opposed to the supremacy of the government or any political party. In the first place, the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power, and excludes the existence of arbitrariness, of prerogative, or even wide discretionary authority on the part of the government.
- If the government is to be restricted in its exercise of discretion, the government has to follow legal procedures that are pre-fixed and pre-announced. Rule of law means that a government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances, and to plan one’s individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge. For example, in constitutional and criminal law, there is a prohibition on “ex post facto” laws, that is, no one should be punished for a crime not previously defined in law. In other words, the government cannot simply define a new crime and apply the new definition retrospectively.
- Sovereign authority:
“There exists perhaps no conception the meaning of which is more controversial than that of sovereignty. It is an indisputable fact that this conception, from the moment when it was introduced into political science until the present day, has never had a meaning which was universally agreed upon.” 
A sovereign can attain power in two ways:
1) Through natural force, or acquisition, when power is used to force someone to submit to the sovereign;or
2) Through mutual covenant, or institution, when people voluntarily agree to subject themselves to a sovereign power. An example of the former is parental control over children, where a parent might threaten to punish their child unless they obey them; and an example of the latter is the transition from a state of nature to a commonwealth.
- 4. The Concept of Sovereign:
The concept of sovereignty is commonly associated with Thomas Hobbes, a 15th century English philosopher. In his 1651 book Leviathan, Hobbes advocates a form of exclusive, absolute monarchy to remove humans from the state of nature. Without a sovereign authority to rule over a population, people’s lives would be “nasty, brutish, and short.” Leviathan has been met with much controversy over the years, but is considered one of the founding works in social contract theory.
There are two different senses of sovereignty, legal and actual. Legal sovereignty refers to the theoretical claim of a governing body to rule over its subjects. These rules are typically codified in a set of laws. Actual sovereignty, on the other hand, is the degree to which a governing body is actually able to control its subjects. If people do not generally follow an authority that claims to be sovereign, little actual sovereignty exists.
1 Lassa Oppenheim (30-03-1858 – 07-10-1919), an authority on international law.
Legal vs. actual sovereignty can be illustrated in the case of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China. Around 1990, both governing bodies claimed legal sovereignty over mainland China and the island of Taiwan. In practice, the PRC only exerted real control over mainland China and the Republic of China only controlled Taiwan. These two governing bodies had the same legal sovereignty, but their actual sovereignty differed.
This issue of sovereignty is also important in international relations. Governments wishing to establish diplomatic relationships with other nations must first decide which governing body to recognize as sovereign. In many cases, there may be only one obvious choice. In the case of the PRC and the Republic of China, however, this may not be an easy decision. Recognizing, or refusing to recognize, the sovereignty of a governing body is a common cause of international disputes.
- The Founders structured our government:
Those who are familiar with the 28 Principles of Liberty outlined in The 5000 Year Leap, are acquainted with the claim that these are the principles upon which the Founders based our new government, thereby assuring us of lasting peace , prosperity, and freedom. Occasionally the question is asked, where we can find these principles in our founding documents. This letter will help the reader make that connection.
The following, then, are some of the ways in which the 28 Principles of Liberty were emphasized as the Founders structured our government.
The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law 
Natural law was defined as the order in which the Creator made everything work properly. There are certain laws which govern the entire universe, and just as Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, there are laws which govern in the affairs of men which are “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” If governments and human relationships are formed according to these laws, they will succeed, if not, they will surely fail, as history has proven.
2 See John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution, pages 360-362)
3 First paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.
A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong 
The Founders knew they could not succeed in this political building without the support of the Supreme Judge of the world and without a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence. They knew this would not happen unless they kept His commandments which amounted to being virtuous and morally strong4.
The most promising method of securing a virtuous and morally stable people is to elect virtuous leaders 
No greater case can be made of the damage done to a free people by power-hungry and tyrannical leaders than the long list of abuses Thomas Jefferson listed in the Declaration. While directed at King George, these abuses are typical of leaders who are without virtue and morality.5
Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained 
As in Principle 2, the Founders knew they could not succeed in this political building without the support of the Supreme Judge of the world and without a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence .They believed they would have His support and protection if they relied on Him, constantly kept His laws, and taught their children to do likewise.
4 Last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.
5 List of grievances in the Declaration of Independence
6 Last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence
All things were created by God, therefore upon Him all mankind are equally dependent, and to Him they are equally responsible.
The Founders considered the existence of the Creator as the most fundamental premise underlying all self-evident truth. The words Nature’s God, Creator, created, Supreme Judge of the Universe, and Divine Providence are used throughout the Declaration of Independence.
All men are created equal 
The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things 
That to secure these rights, governments is instituted among men.
Men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights .
To protect man’s rights, God has revealed certain principles of divine law.
The Founders knew that God had revealed certain laws for human happiness, such as laws against killing, stealing, adultery, lying, coveting, etc. These are reflected in the right of man to form a government to protect his unalienable rights of life, liberty, and property outlined in the Declaration and the Bill of Rights.
7 An exact quote from the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence
8 Second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence
9 Second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence
The God-given right to govern is vested in the sovereign authority of the whole people.
The last paragraph of the Declaration makes it clear that the people as a whole, by their representatives in Congress, have complete authority from the Supreme Judge of the Universe to govern themselves in every way and to take their rightful place among the sovereign peoples of the earth.
The majority of the people may alter or abolish a government which has become tyrannical.
The second paragraph of the Declaration makes it clear that the people have a God-given right to throw off dictators and establish a government that will better protect them in their rights.
The States shall be a republic.
A constitution should be structured to permanently protect the people from the human frailties of their rulers.
In forming our government on the basis of Natural Law, the Founders dealt directly with the human nature characteristic that power almost always corrupts. The separation of powers, checks and balances, and limited governmental powers in the Constitution were all methods employed to check the human frailties which result in run-away power. That is why the Constitution will never be obsolete or outdated.
Life and liberty are secure only so long as the right of property is secure.
The fifth amendment of the Bill of Rights specifically prohibits the federal government from taking private property of the people for public use without just compensation. It is recognition of the sacred right to property and that property is really an extension of one’s life and liberty.
The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free-market economy and a minimum of government regulations.
Other than setting up a proper monetary system and ensuring the free flow of commerce between the states, no power is given to congress to regulate economic affairs of the people. It is a manifest intent to keep the federal government completely out of the free-market economy and to leave any needed regulation to the states.
The government should be separated into three branches – legislative, executive, and judicial .
A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power.
This constitutional system of pitting human nature against human nature by checking each other’s power is pure genius.
10 Articles I, II, and III of the Constitution create this beautiful separation of powers to prevent the tyranny of consolidated government.
The unalienable rights of the people are most likely to be preserved if the principles of government are set forth in a written constitution.
Of the 200 or so nations on the earth today, about 125 of them have written constitutions. However, ours is the oldest one of the youngest nations has the oldest written Constitution. The Founders were the first in modern times to realize that the best way to preserve good government and the rights of the people is to write them down.
Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to government, all others being retained in the people .
Efficiency and dispatch require government to operate according to the will of the majority, but constitutional provisions must be made to protect the rights of the minority .
Strong local self-government is the keystone to preserving human freedom .
The Tenth Amendment leaves most power to govern with the states and local governments. This is where freedom really manifests itself.
12Article 1.8 contains the twenty powers delegated to congress;
13Article II contains the six areas of responsibility of the president; and,
14Article III contains the eleven kinds of cases assigned to the federal courts.
A free people should be governed by law and not by the whims of men .
The people reserve the right in Article I.1.1 not to be governed by any law not passed by their representatives. Article III gives the power to the judiciary to prevent a citizen from being prosecuted by an unjust law which violates the unalienable rights of the people.
A free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education .
The reaction of King George to the list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence is an example of why tyrants want to keep the people ignorant of their actions. In order to preserve and encourage the sacred right of people to gain knowledge, the Constitution forbids the federal government from involving itself in education of the people. It leaves this responsibility to the states and the people where it can be locally controlled.
A free people will not survive unless they stay strong .
Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none .
No authority can be found in the Constitution for the States to tie its sovereignty to any other nation or to give the people’s money to foreign rulers.
15The Tenth Amendment reminds us that all other powers are reserved to the states and the people.
16Article VI declares the Constitution to be the supreme law of the land. If a law is passed which violates the rights of people, it can be declared null and void by the guardians of the Constitution.
18Article 1.8 gives Congress the power to maintain a military.
The core unit which determines the strength of any society is the family; therefore, the government should foster and protect its integrity.
No authority can be found in the Constitution to involve the federal government in family affairs. The Founders knew any laws dealing with these kinds of sensitive issues must be kept close to the people, thereby best preserving this most sacred institution.
The burden of debt is as destructive to freedom as subjugation by conquest 
The United States has a manifest destiny to be an example and a blessing to the entire human race. The entire Constitution was intended to be such a model for the world of how a people can govern themselves and thereby enjoy an unlimited amount of freedom, prosperity, and peace. Our greatest export was to be freedom.
19Article 1.8 lists to pay the debts as the first use of public funds. The Founders considered it immoral to pass debts on to the next generation.
- Rule of Law prevents the authority to use their power arbitrarily, and provides protection for the citizens
Law protects a society from anarchism . It is a set of conducts that is established and enforced by a sovereign authority to ensure and maintain orderly coexistence in the society . Law refers to a “command proceeding from the supreme political authority of a state and addressed to the persons who are subject to that authority”. Law helps the society, citizens and civilization to cohabit peacefully by providing them with a guideline about how to behave, how to act in social and business life, how to arbitrate the conflicts between multiples parties.
Rule of law is a general legal maxim according to which decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws, without the intervention of discretion in their application. This maxim is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance. The word “arbitrary” signifies a judgment made at the discretion of the arbiter, rather than according to the rule of law.
Authority must not use their power arbitrarily:
Equality before law and avoidance of arbitrary use of power can be two important areas where the authority must decide wisely on how to enforce the law.
18Amos, Sheldon; “The Science of Law”, 1885, “Legal Definition of Law”,
19Black’s Law Dictionary page 1196 (Fifth Edition, 1979):
20Online Etymology Dictionary: “‘deciding by one’s own discretion,’ from L. arbitrarius, from arbiter (see arbiter). The original meaning gradually descended to ‘capricious’ (1646) and ‘despotic’ (1642).”
21Resolution of the Council of the International Bar Association of October 8, 2009, on the Commentary on Rule of Law Resolution (2005)
23Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, Bangladesh
Equality before law:
Equality before law means every citizen in a given area will be treated equally before the law and there will be no discrimination or privileges to any particular group or individual. Without this fundamental characteristic, any law can lose its effectiveness drastically. If two different persons are treated two different ways just because of their social background then we could say it as a breach of equality before law and that would propel instability and violence in the society.
Marxism  doubts that law represents the interest of the powerful within the society in modern world.
International Bar Association combined the concept of equality of law with rule of law and said, “The Rule of Law is the foundation of a civilized society. It establishes a transparent process accessible and equal to all”.
In some cases we see that even the constitution might have conflicting position about ensuring the equality before law. For example, Bangladesh Constitution is said to guarantee the equality before to all its citizens. But at the same time, it gives the parliament the authority to provide indemnity to any state officer, which might possibly sometimes breach the equality before law , because all citizens are not treated equally.
Avoidance of arbitrary use of power:
An authority or government must not use their power arbitrarily. Sometimes certain laws allow them to practice some degree of arbitrary power over citizens, but that power is used unwisely, then it might become contradictory with the higher laws and constitution and promote injustice in the civil society.
24Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance, Bangladesh
25Chari, Murali; “The Importance of Law and Order”
26Tamanaha, Brian Z.; “Beyond the Formalist-Realist Divide: The Role of Politics in Judging”, Princeton University Press, 2010
27Cooper, John; “Complete Works By Plato”, page 1402 (Hackett Publishing, 1997)
For Example, In Bangladesh, section 54 of the Criminal Code gives the power to police to arrest an individual without the order from a magistrate and without warrant just on the basis on suspicion. This is frequently used by Bangladesh Police force to pry information out of individuals after arresting them with arbitrary power. Dhaka Metropolitan Police often use another similar law which allows them to arrest any individual after dark whoever fails to provide any satisfactory explanation.
Professor David H. Balyey said, “In India today, a dual system of criminal justice has grown up, the one of the law and the other of politics. With respect at least to the police, decisions made by the police officials, about the application of law, are frequently subject to partisan review or direction by the elected representatives.”
If these options are used randomly and on a regular basis without any knowledge of long-term impact, then it might pose a serious dissatisfaction among the public and cause instability in the legal environment. So government officials will have to decide wisely when and where to use them. Here again, the supreme power of constitution provides shelter to the citizens if they fall victim to any governmental arbitration. Bangladesh constitution safeguards against arrest and detention. It says, “Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty four hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.”
USA PATRIOT Act  is a recent example of arbitrary power practice by the government. This law was enacted by US Government on October 26, 2001 mainly to fight terrorism but it denied appreciating one of the fundamental characteristic of US Constitution which is freedom of expression and privacy of citizens. This law gave the authority the power to search and spy on any form of communication in the country, detaining any foreign citizens without court order if they are thought suspicious. This sparked a lot of criticisms throughout the country, and provoked a lot of violence in the society. Here, the US government failed to uphold the rights of citizens.
28Frankel, Richard; Quill, Timothy; McDaniel, Susan; “The Biopsychosocial Approach: Past, Present, Future”; Boydell & Brewer (2003)
29Gordon, Scott; “Controlling the State: Constitutionalism from Ancient Athens to Today”; Harvard University Press. Page: 4; (1994).
- 7. Conclusion:
We discussed the relation between a sovereign power and the subjects who are ruled by that sovereign power. The relation between a sovereign power and the subjects … and civil laws, because it embodies the power of many individuals who have by … We cannot imagine or remember an external body (or object) without already … in which there is no sovereign authority to regulate competing interests
Rule of law has its own strength for protecting human right, resolving dispute and establishing a peaceful society. It helps people to feel that there is always an invisible friendly hand who will act as a shield against the inequalities they face in their daily life. But it establishment is very much dependant on the sovereign authority of the state. If they fail to make the law equal to everyone, deprived citizen will then feel that law of their state is a tyranny for them. A government should enforce those laws which will go with the public interest, not for authorities’ own illegal purpose, not against the public sentiment. Because they have to know that law has a wide array of implications in every layer of the society.
Therefore, rule of law will protect the society from any kind of crime, anarchy, inequality and it will defense everyone to get their proper judgment. The authority of the state has the power to create a new constitution, a new law. But that doesn’t mean that they can do as they wish. All are equal in law. Everyone has to be stood in front of law if any unlawful thing happens. So not only the public but also the government, the sovereign authority must have to obey the law and have to make the proper use of law to protect the civilization from any hazards
The law of nations is the law of sovereigns; free and independent states are moral persons, whose rights and obligations we are to establish in this treatise.
- Leviathan, or the Matter, Form, and Power of a Commonwealth, Ecclesiastical and Civil (1651) is a treatise by Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) on the origin, nature, and forms of a commonwealth, and is an explanation of the functions of a commonwealth in protecting human liberty and in providing security for its people.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) published The Social Contract in 1762. In contrast to his earlier work, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1752), here Rousseau takes a much more pessimistic view of the original state of nature.
- The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right. Book III.Chapter XII. How the Sovereign Authority Maintains Itself
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
- a b c “sovereignty (politics)”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
- ^ Bateman, C.G. (15 February 2011). Nicaea and Sovereignty: Constantine’s Council of as an Important Crossroad in the Development of European State Sovereignty. University of British Columbia. pp. 54–91. SSRN 1759006.