“Every official from the Prime Minister to constable or a collector of taxes is under the same responsibility for every act done without legal justification as any other citizen.”
Finally, it implies that “the general principles of the constitution are … the result of judicial decisions determining the rights of private persons in particular cases brought before the courts.” The rights are not listed in the Constitution and this avoids any miscarriage of limiting them.
According to Dicey the principle of rule of law is best antidote to government’s tyranny. In his opinion, there exists liberty in Britain only because there was the Rule of Law.
However, there are serious drawbacks in Dicey’s conception of Rule of Law.
Firstly, It is meaningless in societies marked by wide inequalities. It will have to buttress itself with certain elements of egalitarianism by which legal equality can be meaningful.
Secondly, I. Jennings in his “The Law and the Constitution” observes that “the growth of the new functions of the state has made much of his analysis irrelevant.” The growing complexity of governmental functions and resulting phenomenon of delegated legislation has restricted crude observance of the Rule of Law.
Thirdly, The growth of administrative laws to tackle the social welfare functions of the state has further minimized the scope of Rule of Law.
Fourthly, Immunities granted to persons and property of diplomats limit the scope of Rule of law.
Thus, the conventional notion of the Rule of Law expounded by A.V. Dicey has undergone modifications.
It has been supplemented with other adequate provisions to suit the exigencies of the time. In its present connotation, it implies, as Wade and Philips in “Constitutional Law” observes “the absence of arbitrary power, effective control of and proper publicity for delegated legislation, particularly when it imposes penalties: that when discretionary power is granted the manner in which it is to be exercised should as far as practicable be defined, that every man should be responsible to the ordinary law whether he be private citizen or public officer; that private rights should be determined by impartial and independent tribunals; and that fundamental private rights are safeguarded by the ordinary law of the land.”