Rule of Law
The Rule of Law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. The rule follows logically from the idea that truth, and therefore law, is based upon fundamental principles which can be discovered, but which cannot be created through an act of will.
The most important application of the rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedural steps that are referred to as due process. The principle is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance, whether by a totalitarian leader or by mob rule. Thus, the rule of law is hostile both to dictatorship and to anarchy.
LexisNexis is committed to playing a positive role in the community and becoming an authoritative voice in "higher order" legal and risk management business issues that are not only topical, but, more importantly, foundational to the stability of governments, the well-being of their citizens, and business. One example is our initiative regarding "the Rule of Law" and its role in preserving, protecting, and defending the rights and property of individuals and corporations around the world.
Louis F. Duffy (deceased), Sr. Vice President Emeritus and International Consultant, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, Addresses ABA Human Rights Luncheon and express the company's support for Human Rights and World Peace through Law.
"There can be no Rule of Law unless there is access to the basic sources of law."
— Theuns Viljoen, CEO, LexisNexis Pacific
Rule of Law cannot exist without a transparent legal system, the main components of which are a clear set of laws that are freely and easily accessible to all, strong enforcement structures, and an independent judiciary to protect citizens against the arbitrary use of power by the state, individuals or any other organization.
In some countries the average citizen, businesses trying to operate in those countries, and even practicing lawyers have limited access to laws or legal decisions. Recognizing this challenge, LexisNexis is working in Ghana, Mauritius and three Nigerian states to update laws, to issue them in printed volumes, and then to make them publicly available.
For the past seven years, LexisNexis South Africa has worked throughout Africa to consolidate and update laws in Kenya, Swaziland, South Africa, Malawi, and Zimbabwe—fourteen nations in all. As Theuns Viljoen, Executive Director, LexisNexis South Africa, observes, “Our approach is that there can be no Rule of Law unless there is access to the basic sources of Law.”
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"In a society not adequately governed by the Rule of Law, human beings will be traded as goods."
— Dawn Conway, former SVP Corporate Responsibility, LexisNexis
It is estimated that one million people, mostly women and children, are trafficked around the world each year, lured into involuntary servitude and sexual slavery. The gross and unjust economic exploitation of vulnerable people, especially women and children through trafficking, is a direct consequence of the absence of Rule of Law.
LexisNexis is committed to combating human trafficking by offering direct financial support and legal and technical advice to organizations working in the field to eradicate the illegal trade wherever it exists.
Two organizations we proudly sponsor are the Somaly Mam Foundation and Agir Pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire (AFESIP), or Acting for Women in Distressing Situations. The Somaly Mam Foundation combats sexual slavery by funding AFESIP and other NGOs that work at the grass-roots level to rescue victims from brothels and offer them shelter, safety, counseling, education, vocational skills, and assistance transitioning back into society.
In addition to providing direct support for the Somaly Mam Foundation and AFESIP, LexisNexis sponsors special events aimed at raising awareness of the existence of human trafficking worldwide. For example, in October 2007, on the eve of the IBA’s International Annual Conference in Singapore, LexisNexis hosted a dinner for top Southeast Asian policy professionals to discuss Rule of Law and its role in the region’s economic development. Here, our keynote speaker was Somaly Mam, one of the most prolific activists fighting sexual slavery today. Raising global awareness will help eradicate industry demand and encourage further pro bono efforts to end human trafficking.
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"The Rule of Law can generate economic reform and unlock the social, political and economic potential that exists in societies."
— Henry Horbaczewski, former Corporate General Counsel, Reed Elsevier
LexisNexis believes that meaningful, deep-rooted economic development can only occur in societies where the Rule of Law exists. Robust economies are dependent upon the existence of clear laws that govern societies and commerce, and a strong, independent judiciary to impartially enforce laws and contracts so that citizens, institutions and foreign investors can risk capital and trust that risk is protected from arbitrary forces. The Rule of Law thus enables people and institutions to fulfill their dreams and aspirations individually and collectively.
LexisNexis promotes economic development and the Rule of Law in a variety of ways, including outreach and advocacy, educational forums, thought leadership, and the free dissemination of and training on LexisNexis® solutions.
In 2007 LexisNexis sponsored the first-ever Conference on Economic Development and the Rule of Law in Latin America. This groundbreaking two-day conference drew former presidents, ambassadors, leading justices, partners from the region’s most prestigious law firms, and executives and general counsel from top corporations across Latin America.
The conference discussed such issues as the judicial system and Rule of Law reform in Latin America, the experience of foreign direct investment in Latin America, how to protect intellectual property, local and international credit and secured lending transactions, and alternative dispute resolution in international trade and investment. The conference also examined future challenges to continued economic progress and Rule of Law in Latin America.
In 2008 we are exploring opportunities to sponsor a similar conference on Economic Development and the Rule of Law in Asia.
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