The Rule of Law is internationally regarded as a bedrock of liberal democracies. It is fundamental to good governance, economic management and resilient, more equitable societies. The UK Government, the Commonwealth and United Nations all hold the rules-based approach as a key social and economic objective.
However, this principle has come under unprecedented pressure. Populist leadership and attempts to manage contemporary crises, such as mass immigration and new forms of protest, has led to pressure on, and suspension of, formerly-held legal principles. The judiciary and lawyers, in countries once considered stable democracies, have come under attack.
Strengthening the Rule of Law:
Understanding contemporary threats and future possibilities
In the face of these concerns, we launched Strengthening the Rule of Law. It is designed to develop young people’s understanding of the way laws are made, contested and enforced. Aimed at those with early careers, or an interest, in law or law enforcement, the project will:
- explore where, how and why the Rule of Law works well or is under threat;
- debate different legal models, including how the Rule of Law is understood and interpreted from multiple perspectives and cultural contexts;
- and encourage emerging leaders to promote the Rule of Law in their field.
Working with our partner organisations, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, the College of Policing, and Big Voice London, three residential workshops will be held each year with 24 young people from the UK and Commonwealth countries. Each retreat will have input from experts in the field, and focus on international case studies to explore:
- law-making, including the role and legitimacy of the legislature;
- legal interpretation and resolution of disputes, including the role and legitimacy of the judiciary;
- and the enforcement of law, including the role and legitimacy of the police.
In addition to the workshops, learning will be supported via online resources and facilitated webinars held between retreats. An online peer-to-peer network will be established to allow discussion and support to continue. This will form an international network of young people advocating for the rule of law.
The project utilises Cumberland Lodge’s expertise in facilitating difficult conversations, building trust-based relationships, and enabling open discussions between participants while respecting differences of opinion.