Administrative law Constitutional principles and responsible government

Constitutional principles and responsible government are inseparable. Here you will learn how administrative law can promote responsible government through constitutional principles.

Administrative law

Administrative law is the by-product of the growing socio-economic functions of the State and the increased powers of the government.

With current development, Administrative law is necessary for controlling the relationship between the administrative authorities and the people.

Normally administrative law is regarded as the area of law concerned with the control of governmental powers which originate in primary legislation or in the prerogative.

Constitutional principles

Administrative Law promotes responsible government by giving effect to the following Constitutional principles

  1. Rule of law
  2. Separation of Powers
  3. Independence of Judiciary
  4. Ministerial Responsibility

Rule of Law

This is a constitutional principle which is popularly found by Dicey, according to him the rule of law is composed with the absence of arbitrary and discretion power of a public authority, equality before the law and he believes that the fundamental rights of individuals are the consequence of judicial decisions and the constitution is not the cause of those rights.

Today The Expression “Rule of Law” plays an important role in the administrative law that is to prevent arbitrary power (rule of man). Rule of law protects people against the arbitrary action of the administrative authorities.

That rule of law is more than acting in accordance with law but it should extend to the idea that the rule of law does not give the government too much power, so administrative law by controlling the power of government it can make a responsible government.

Separation of Powers

Montesquieu, French jurist, for the first time, gave it a systematic and scientific formulation in his book ‘Esprit des Lois’ (The spirit of the laws.) Montesquieu said that if the Executive and the Legislature are the same person or body of persons, there would be a danger of the Legislature enacting oppressive laws which the executive will administer to attain its own ends, for laws to be enforced by the same body that enacts them result in arbitrary rule and makes the judge a legislator rather than an interpreter of law.

If one person or body of persons could exercise both the executive and judicial powers in the same matter, there would be arbitrary powers, which would amount to complete tyranny, if the legislative power would be added to the power of that person.

The value of the doctrine lies in the fact that it seeks to preserve human liberty by avoiding the concentration of powers in one person or body of persons. The different organs of government should thus be prevented from encroaching on the province of the other organ.
Separation of power is an important principle to ensure that the governing of a state is executed smoothly and peacefully.

Independence of Judiciary

This principle entails that the judiciary must be free in its businesses. Judiciary should act without any interference from political and executive so as to ensure proper administration of justice.

Basically, there are four dimensions of this doctrine, namely, the security of tenure of the judicial personnel, the separation of judicial powers and personnel from the Executive and the Legislature, security of personnel emoluments, and lastly, judicial immunity from prosecution and litigation

Ministerial Responsibility

Another way through which administrative law promotes responsible government is Ministerial Responsibility. Through this administrative law allows ministers to be individually or collectively responsible before parliament. National Assembly may ask any question to any Minister concerning public affairs that are within his responsibility or may pass a vote of no confidence.

Final Remarks

Administrative law is there to redress the inequality between the government and its people, to ensure that equality between the individual and the state in the realm of justice.

In reality, there is no antithesis between a strong government and controlling the exercise of administrative powers. Hence by control, the motion of these constitutional principles administrative law can be able to make responsible government because justice, democracy, and protection of human rights will be observed.

Isack Kimaro
Isack Kimaro

Editor-in-chief and founder of Holder of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Lawyer by profession and blogger by passion