Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Professor Kelley Participates in the World Justice Forum in Vienna

As noted in the update post, Professor Kelley participated in the recent World Justice Forum held in Vienna, Austria, July 2-5, 2008. This forum brought together five hundred recognized leaders from throughout the world to officially launch the World Justice Project (WPJ), a new multidisciplinary, multinational movement to strengthen the rule of law worldwide. As was reported in the international media, participants represented "95 countries and 15 disciplines and featured Supreme Court justices, former European presidents, Nobel Laureates and other world leaders."

ABA President and WJP founder William H. Neukom stated that the forum was about “actions, not discussions; programs, not declarations” and stressed the multi-disciplinary aspects of the project. Participants included rule of law experts and high-profile leaders from a wide range of disciplines. At the forum, they discussed cross-disciplinary collaborations that can advance the rule of law and will determine the future focus of the World Justice Project.

The WJP working definition of the rule of law comprises four universal principles:
  1. The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law;
  2. The laws are clear, publicized, stable and fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property;
  3. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered and enforced is accessible, fair and efficient;
  4. The laws are upheld, and access to justice is provided, by competent, independent, and ethical law enforcement officials, attorneys or representatives, and judges, who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.
The Forum featured discussions on multidisciplinary approaches to advancing the rule of law and presentations on work sponsored by the WJP. Two main elements of the project were introduced at the forum: the Rule of Law Index and the Opportunity Fund. The new Index is considered to be the first comprehensive measure of a countries’ adherence to the rule of law. It represents an expanded measurement of rule of law, evaluating 100 different variables that make up the rule of law.

The second prong is an Opportunity Fund that will provide seed money for pilot programs developed during the Forum. Participants will be encouraged to submit applications centered on programs to advance the rule of law in their communities. Distributions of $10,000 to $20,000 are expected to be made for those programs.

The Forum was the culmination of Phase I of the World Justice Project; future forums will analyze programs that have been incubated with the funding announced today, and with additional monies as fundraising efforts continue.

We were honored that the school of law was represented at the forum and look forward to the exciting work of the WJP.

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