International Rule of Law Assistance: Law & Development - Not offered in AY 2022-23

Undergraduate Program Status

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Description: 

Western development aid policy has regarded the promotion of rule of law and the respect for human rights as an indispensable basis for a peaceful state-building process and as a precondition for the solution to many major national challenges, be it in investment and trade, security, constitutional and political stability or social justice. As a result, since the post-cold war era a “rule of law industry” has emerged and an ever-expanding number of actors have gotten involved (international organisations and programs, states, NGOs and INGOs, consultancy firms and think tanks, universities and law firms). In parallel, resources spent on rule of law promotion have risen significantly and it has become a multi-billion US$ business. Yet, despite its growing popularity, results have generally been disappointing and success stories are rather the exception than the rule. This course aims to provide a better understanding of the past, present and future challenges in rule of law assistance. It does so by embedding ‘rule of law assistance’ in a larger historical and conceptual context of the law & development discourse, spanning from the post WW II and de-colonialization dynamics to the sustainable development goals. Though the course doesn’t teach how to do adequate ‘rule of law assistance’, it aims to offer a conceptual and intellectual grounding from which to critically examine and evaluate rule of law programs applied in the field.

Learning Outcomes: 

1. Ability to understand the historical context, the different moments, and the range of theories of Law & Development 2. Gaining an understanding of the role of international institutions, particularly the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the GATT / World Trade Organization with respect to Development 3. Ability to understand the various facets of the ‘rule of law’ label, both in terms of legal culture and political strategy. 4. Ability to identify the effects, both intended and unintended, of international development assistance in the rule of law sector. 5. Familiarity with different disciplinary approaches to understanding, critiquing, and reforming RoL initiatives in general and in the context of the sustainable development goals.