This course offers students an opportunity to learn about the emerging field and practice of strengthening the Rule of Law. It employs a case study methodology, including specific sessions for dialogue and interaction with judges from the U.S. judiciary who have been directly engaged in rule of law programs. Topics include: definitions of the “rule of law”, national security reforms, access to justice, criminal procedural reform, court administration and case management, commercial courts and alternative dispute resolution (ADR), challenges to judicial independence, post conflict/transitional justice, and indicators of corruption in the legal system itself. We will consider the rationale behind rule of law reforms by examining experiences in countries, including the U.S., seeking more competitive market economies, stronger law enforcement (domestically and internationally), greater social justice and/or responses to an increase in demand from users (individuals/businesses). The course will also address the often overlapping or inconsistent agendas of bilateral donors, regional and international organizations (e.g. OECD, U.N., World Bank, International Monetary Fund, USAID, Inter-American Development Bank, among others) in our analysis and discussion.
- At the end of the course. Students will have acquired an understanding of the various definitions of ‘rule of law’ and the factors leading to and preventing successful reform efforts.
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired some understanding of the differences and similarities among international financial institutions (IFIs) and their approaches to Rule of Law to be able distinguish varying objectives (e.g. democracy promotion, economic development, human rights and social justice, anti-corruption and law enforcement).
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired a vocabulary and understanding of overlapping (and even inconsistent agendas) to be able to identify the “drivers” of reform and provide inputs for the design or evaluation of Rule of Law reform efforts.