Professionalizing Rule of Law: Issues and Directions
Professionalizing Rule of Law: Issues and Directions (Folke Bernadotte Academy Publications) 2015
66 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2015
Date Written: 2015
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall ‘rule of law’ has become a routine part of framing and legitimizing multilateral and bilateral interventions in developing and fragile states. Its conceptual and operational use now extends across undertakings as diverse as peacekeeping, security sector reform, transitional justice, human rights advocacy and economic development assistance. As its scale and scope has grown, donor spending on rule of law has totalled billions of dollars and with this has come increased political calls for quick and concrete results. While many observers accept that rule of law is a desirable part of both post-conflict state-building and post-peace economic development and peace-building, the work itself is open to the claim that it is time-consuming.
But in appealing for greater efficiency and efficacy in this field, donors and rule of law organizations have paid comparatively little attention to those who design and implement interventions. This is important because it is necessary to understand how rule of law is conceptualized and put into operation as part of a security or development assistance intervention, since one of the essential elements that determines success in such ‘programmes’ and ‘projects’ is people: the designers, implementers and partners for rule of law interventions in specific settings. This report applies insights from the anthropology of development, the sociology of the professions, and from socio-legal studies of lawyers to frame rule of law both as a practice and a potential emerging profession. We argue that rule of law -- as well as being a cluster of conceptual ideas and an ideology underpinning multilateral and bilateral policy interventions in the developing world -- can also be viewed as a networked field of practice. We examine how the field of practice is constituted and populated, and how its practitioners see themselves and the challenges they face. The transnational and multilevel nature of rule of law work and its diverse funding sources means that those working in the field lack the geographically bounded self-regulatory capacity of the traditional professions. Thus while ‘professionalization’ in the classic sense may be nascent, we can observe the emergence of communities of practice.
Keywords: Rule of law, professionalization, peacebuilding, governance, regulation
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