And they have organised this close similarity in their belief and adherence to democratic values into operational institutions of democratic practice such as the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, each deriving its power and authority from the constitutions that the people, in their respective constituent assemblies, have given to themselves. A unanimous opinion of scholarly commentators is that both the constitutions provide for the 'rule of law'.
"... every official, from the Prime Minister down to a constable or a collector of taxes, is under the same responsibility for every act done without legal justification as any other citizen and all subordinates, though carrying out the commands of their official superiors, are as responsible for any act which the law does not authorise as is any private and unofficial person." (A V Dicey, Law of the Constitution,: MacMillan, London, 9th ed., 1950, p.194).
An American interpretation of the Rule of Law equates it with the separation of powers between the three branches of government. Thus in exposing the theme the popular internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia, says:
"In American law, the most famous exposition of the same principle (of Rule of Law) was drafted by John Adams for the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in justification of the principle of separation of powers:
"In the government of this commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men."
Massachusetts Constitution, Part The First, art. XXX (1780)" (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, retrieved on May 25, 2006)
Safeguarding the liberty of the individual citizen is a prime responsibility of the democratic state. The most effective safeguard of liberty is when 'government is a government of law and not of men'. To the extent that the rule of law prevails, to that extent also liberty has the chance of being safeguarded. Separation of powers is a necessary condition for safeguarding liberty; for, as Montesquieu said: "When the legislative and judicial powers are united in the same person or body of persons there can be no liberty; for apprehensions may arise that the same monarch or senate should pass tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical way. Again there is no liberty if the judicial power is not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to the arbitrary control and were it joined with