Rule of Law Program 8

Rule of Law Program

The Rule of Law Program offers opportunities for students to learn the theory and practice of international development and state-building through coursework, experiential learning, and research.

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About the Rule of Law Program

The Rule of Law Program at Stanford Law School brings together a diverse group of scholars and students whose interests lie at the intersection of law, political economy, and development. The Program was established in 1999 with the goal of promoting policy-relevant scholarship on the rule of law in developing countries and creating opportunities for students to responsibly engage in applied development work. The Program runs projects around the world, most recently in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Rwanda. These projects provide Stanford JDs and LLMs the opportunity to work on legal education and policy initiatives. In addition, we support and encourage research related to the rule of law across the developing world.

The Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP) is housed within the Rule of Law Program. Through ALEP, Stanford students get the opportunity to help shape the future of legal education in Afghanistan.

Another core component of the Rule of Law Program is the Rule of Non-Law Project. The rule of law–and especially aspects of the rule of law such as the protection of property rights and contract enforcement–is thought to be vital for economic development and poverty alleviation. And yet, many of the fastest growing economies in the developing world are advancing without any serious changes to their formal legal institutions. We want to know what is going on: are there informal mechanisms that are substituting for formal mechanisms? Or is the conventional wisdom somehow wrong?




The Rule of Law Program is grateful for current and past support from the Stanford Law School’s Dean’s Fund; the Implementation Lab of the Center for Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law; and Microsoft. The Afghanistan Legal Education Project is generously supported by the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. The Rule of Non-Law Project is supported by Stanford SEED.