Rule of Law Program activities now take place under the auspices of the Neukom Center for the Rule of Law. In its new home, the program looks ahead to even greater impact in theory and practice.
Beginning in 1999, the Rule of Law Program at Stanford Law School provided students and researchers with unparalleled opportunities to confront some of the world’s most complex challenges, primarily in developing countries. Through courses, fieldwork, and experiential learning, the program in its prior form contributed to the furtherance of accountable governments and institutions, while also advancing theory and scholarship in this critical area of study.
Historically, a cornerstone of the program was the opportunity for students to research and work on on-the-ground projects in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
These included the Iraq Legal Education Initiative, the Rwanda Legal Development Project, and the Cambodia Law and Policy Initiative. The long-running Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP) continues today, in the face of Taliban rule, and is taking a new direction in order to further educational opportunities, especially for women in Afghanistan.
The Rule of Non-Law Project was another component of the Rule of Law Program, focusing on the political economy of how and when legal institutions become strong and credible. This work also flows into the new Neukom Center, where rule of non-law is a core area of focus.
Neukom Center for the Rule of Law
Building on two decades of work, the new incarnation of the program will continue to develop a robust curriculum to meet the challenges of a world where the rule of law is increasingly under threat.learn more
The Program ran projects around the world, most recently in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Rwanda. These projects provided Stanford JDs and LLMs the opportunity to work on legal education and policy initiatives. In addition, we supported and encouraged research related to the rule of law across the developing world.
Research and Scholarship
Through courses and directed research, students had the opportunity to conduct research and develop scholarship on rule of law issues with Stanford Law School faculty. Past projects have explored topics ranging from commercial arbitration in Iraqi Kurdistan, to legal pedagogy development and transmission in Afghanistan, to a critical assessment of legal identity. The Rule of Non-Law Project examined the use of various workarounds to the formal legal system by economic actors in developing countries.
During Spring Break 2019 students and faculty went to Delhi, India and conducted conversations with lawyers, politicians, scholars, leaders in civil society, and senior bureaucrats who are active in addressing poverty and improving governance. Students also met frontline government officials (i.e., cops and government teachers) who shared their own perspectives about the problem.
The Rule of Law Program provided curriculum support and technical assistance to legal education institutions in developing countries:
- Curriculum and Program Development with American University of Afghanistan
- Curriculum Development with American University of Iraq Sulaimani
- Curriculum Development with the English Language Based Bachelor of Law Program in Cambodia
- Curriculum Development with National University of Timor-Leste
- Curriculum Development with Royal Training Institute of Bhutan
The project also provided comparative law and policy analysis at the request of government entities in developing economies:
- Policy Development with the Rwanda Law Reform Commission
- Policy Development with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Rwanda
Afghanistan Legal Education Project
The Rule of Law Program’s longest-standing initiative is the Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP). ALEP is a collaboration with the American University of Afghanistan to provide high quality teaching and curriculum to Afghan law students.
The Rule of Law Program’s longest-standing initiative is the Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP). ALEP is a collaboration with the American University of Afghanistan to provide high quality teaching and curriculum to Afghan law students.See ALEP Website
The Rule of Non-Law Project
The Rule of Non-Law Project examines the use of various workarounds to the formal legal system by economic actors in developing countries. It considers the conditions under which certain actors are able to take advantage of less-efficient markets in ways that lead to stronger growth and less poverty.learn more
Beginning in 2015, the Rule of Law Program oversaw a now-final project in Cambodia, in partnership with the NGO Destination Justice, to produce an annotated Constitution. From 2009 to 2013, we developed a legal curriculum with National University of Timor-Leste (formerly known as East Timor) and the Royal Training Institute of Bhutan. Several of our other projects, including a legal education initiative in Iraq and a law development project in Rwanda, are ongoing and the project maintains institutional ties with our partners.