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Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution

Rule of Law Reform Project

The center supervises the academic and administrative direction of Emory's Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques, which develops the advocacy skills of second- and third-year law students. The center also hosts applied research forums and conferences that elevate advocacy and dispute resolution through

The Rule of Law Reform Project (RLRP) studies the challenges related to the implementation of rule-of-law reform in post-conflict and developing nations.

Current Rule of Law Partnership Projects

Rule-of-law reforms have been a part of aid and development programs for the past several decades. As one noted writer has indicated, rule of law thinking is a necessary component in any discussion of foreign policy[1]. The UN has undertaken several large-scale rule-of-law reform projects, the World Bank rates countries based on their perceived level of rule-of-law, and countless other international organizations and actors are involved in the reform process. 

While this would seem to indicate that rule of law reform is well understood and to some degree formulaic, recent studies have questioned the effectiveness of efforts thus far. A 2006 study by the World Bank identified eleven problems with the implementation of rule-of-law reforms in post-conflict situations, including (1) lack of understanding as to how rule-of-law is actually developed, (2) lack of coordination among the various actors, (3) failure to take into account the local situation and involve local actors, and (4) unwillingness/inability to invest in long-term reform.[2]

The international community’s experience thus far has at the very least proven that reform is a complex and difficult process that cannot be distilled into a simple, one-size-fits-all formula. RLRP is well situated to meet the challenges posed by the complexity of the reform process and to make a significant impact in the field. As a part of the Emory University community, RLRP is able to increase understanding of rule-of-law reform through a multidisciplinary approach, inclusive of perspectives on law, economics, and social and cultural implications. We will focus our research activities toward understanding the complex and interdependent process of rule-of-law reform and toward creating models specifically tailored to be implemented by our international partners 

[1] Carothers 1998 p. 95

[2] Samuels 1996