Rule of Law as Characteristic of Good Governance
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Sustainable development of the local community substantially depends on the performance of the local governance. Well-functioning local governments and legal institutions bound by the rule of law are also essential for good local governance. In case of weak judicial and legal infrastructures corruption and non-compliance are the norm, and laws are not enforced. This undermines the value of the rule of law, provoke environmental deprivation, and also challenge the progress in the direction of sustainable development. Generally, the concept of governance implies the decision-making process according to which decisions are either implemented or not implemented. The concept of governance can be applied in various contexts, including international governance, national governance, local governance or even corporate governance.
Effective and well-performed governance has several peculiar characteristics. It is characterized as consensus oriented, participatory, transparent, accountable, effective, responsive and efficient, inclusive and equitable, and also good governance follows the rule of law. In the setting of the good governance, corruption is minimized, the needs of people from minority groups are taken into consideration, and, moreover, the views and requests of the most vulnerable groups in society are accounted in the decision making process. Finally, good governance is also responsive not only to the present needs of society, but puts an emphasis on the future and prospective development of the community.
Rule of law is considered to be one of the most relevant characteristics of effective governance. It is identified as an impartial, fair, and easily reached system of justice along with a representative government that all constitute core elements of the rule of law. The concept of the rule of law can be traced back to 17th century. Later, it has become widespread thanks to the British lawyer A. Dicey in the 19th century. At the same time, background of the concept is found in the works of ancient philosophers, including Aristotle. The basic idea of the principle of the rule of law is that every citizen in the country or every community member is obliged to obey the laws unlike the idea that the governor is above the law; for example, he is empowered with the divine right. Notwithstanding its wide use in the politics, judicial system, as well as in the academics, the principle of the rule of law has been often described as "an exceptionally elusive notion". This gave rise to the "uncontrolled divergence of understandings when everyone is for it but has divergent convictions about what it is. Examples of the successful application of the rule of law in the local setting include resolving local arguments over land and irrigation issues, commercial property, smoothing the process of compensating claims for the local people, as well as supporting development of the local industries. At the same time, application of the rule of law in the local community implies efficient performance of the judicial and legislative branches of the government, including resolving various types of social and economic conflicts within the community, e.g. racial discrimination acts, acts of violence, vandalism, etc.
To sum up, it should be mentioned that in spite of the remarkable developments that have taken place in the area of the rule of law enforcement at the international and national levels, a lot of improvements has been made at the local communities’ level. Numerous kinds of violations of the human rights have been eliminated in the local settings, including sexual assault, domestic violence, as well as child abuse, cruelty towards the elderly, and finally, various types of the social discrimination. Improvements in the area of the rule of law enforcement at the local level have set grounds for sustainable social and economic development of the community.