The Rule of Law
The term "rule of law" embodies the basic principles of equal treatment of all people before the law, fairness, and both constitutional and actual guarantees of basic human rights. A predictable legal system with fair, transparent, and effective judicial institutions is essential to the protection of citizens against the arbitrary use of state authority and lawless acts of both organizations and individuals.
In many states with weak or newly-emerging democratic traditions, existing laws are not fair or are not fairly applied, judicial independence is compromised, individual and minority rights are not truly guaranteed, and institutions have not yet developed the capacity to administer existing laws. Weak legal institutions endanger democratic reform and sustainable development in developing countries.
Without the rule of law, the executive and legislative branches of government operate without checks and balances, free and fair elections are not possible, and civil society cannot flourish. Beyond the democracy and governance sector, ZipLaw's efforts to strengthen legal systems fall under three inter-connected priority areas: supporting legal reform, improving the administration of justice, and increasing citizens' access to justice.