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The start of a monthly column on Rule of Law issues immediately left me with a dilemma: there is a lot going on! What to leave out? It’s a bit like being a sports coach with 15 fantastic players but only 11 team places to fill.
But that is a great position to be in. It means our contribution to advancing the Rule of law around the world continues at pace. One of the great things about having a Rule of Law program at LexisNexis is the platform it provides us for advocacy. It’s one I, and increasing numbers of colleagues at LN, are seeking to maximize. For example, at the recent Commonwealth Law Conference (the Association representing lawyers across more than 50 countries worldwide) we had the opportunity for a major presence and a keynote Rule of Law speech.
I find that whenever we get the chance to make a speech or presentation, join a panel, advocate for the Rule of law, the audience response is always the same: “How can we get involved?” I generally reply “Ideas, projects, volunteering, advocacy.” But I always emphasize our belief that this should be done through the lens of the LN Rule of Law Strategy, which consists of two key components:
Deploy your core skills
Work with partners to change the world! It is a message that resonates with every audience.
By focusing on doing what you are already good at within a Rule of Law project, it gives us the greatest chance of making a meaningful difference. Projects are happening all over the world and in the next blog I’ll talk about some of those.
But the Rule of Law project didn’t start recently. In addition to the work done by LN employees all over the world, we have a long history of partnering with other bodies (the second limb of the strategy). Associations like the Commonwealth Lawyers Association work with us to raise the profile of the Rule of Law. We’ve established Rule of Law awards with multiple associations to recognize some amazing individuals and entities for their work in advancing the Rule of Law. For example, this year’s Commonwealth Lawyers award went to Ms. Ambiga Sreenevasan, (pictured below with CLA president R. Santhanakrishnan) a former President of the Malaysian Bar. She received it for her work in Malaysia upholding the key principles of accountability and equality under the law. (Read her acceptance speech here.)
And continuing the theme of advocacy and awareness, in June I’ll be part of a panel at the Inter-American Bar Association Annual conference where I can spread the Rule of Law word again!
July is going to be a big month for LexisNexis at the United Nations! There will be a huge gathering of the global mighty to discuss progress on Sustainable Development Goal (“SDG”)16 (which is where our Rule of Law campaign sits within the United Nations framework). We are front and center on that. As co-chair of the High Level Political Forum launch event you can see that we are playing a thought leadership role at the highest levels. We are also looking at hosting a full-day UN meeting at our NYC office on data and measurements for SDG 16 for civic society (more on that in the next blog). Being a data and analytics company we can, again, play to our strengths in the Rule of Law space.
Demonstrating the truly global nature of the Rule of Law, the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation is hosting a meeting with Lady Justice Asplin, who serves on the Court of Appeal for England and Wales. This event, in Dubai, will focus on advancing women as judges all around the world, in different systems and environments. It’s great when we get a project involving multiple LN offices. On this occasion, the LN Paris and Dubai offices will be assisting the Foundation with coordination of the attendees. More on that in subsequent blogs too!
So, this blog was a quick run through of some examples of raising awareness and advocating for the Rule of Law. In the next blog, I will talk about some of the really impactful projects we have undertaken around the world.
Ian McDougall is general counsel of LexisNexis Legal & Professional. To learn more about the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation, click here.
Congratulations on the inaugural blog post related to the rule of law activities taking shape around the world! Looking forward to reading more.