Rule of Law
Support for the rule of law is at the very heart of ISLP's global mission. It is essential to the maintenance of peace and security, sustainable development, and the protection of human rights.
ISLP has considerable experience with projects that promote access to justice. Volunteers helped to establish the first-ever public defender offices in Ukraine in 2006, advised the High Court in New Delhi, India on the implementation of that country's new plea bargaining law in 2009, partnered with NGO staff lawyers on public interest litigation strategies, trained those defending the media against abusive criminal libel charges, and lent drafting support on critical legislation aimed at halting domestic violence, human trafficking, and the gross misappropriation of property known as "land grabbing." ISLP volunteers have provided training in either criminal defence or prosecution in Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia and Ukraine.
Award-winning work with the Liberian Ministry of Justice
Since 2007, Canadian firm Blakes has supported the volunteer efforts of one of its senior lawyers, Jim Dube, in an ongoing ISLP project to provide assistance with the restoration of Liberia's legal system. With Blakes' sponsorship, Jim has made multiple long-term onsite trips to Liberia over the past seven years where, as a general advisor, he is involved in many of the most significant and urgent matters affecting the work of the Ministry. His most recent trip was in March 2014. Blakes received a Lexpert Zenith Award in 2010 for this project. <more>
Pictured: Jim Dube with Liberia's Minister of Justice, Christina Tah
Considering the future of public legal aid in Haiti
In July 2013, ISLP brought key stakeholders together in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for a discussion on the future of the country's national legal aid system. Organized by ISLP in collaboration with the Minister of Justice and Public Security and presided over by former Minister of Justice, Mr. René Magloire, the conference sought to build consensus on the future of Haiti's legal aid offices, or Bureaux d'Assistance Légale. During the opening ceremony, the General Director of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security acknowledged the importance of legal aid and the necessity of institutionalizing the system. He also stated that the Ministry awaited the resulting conference proposals in order to put together a plan for reinforcing legal aid.
Pictured: ISLP Volunteers Jean-Louis Libert (left) and Simone Santerre (right) with Minister Rene Magloire, Vice-President, Haitian Presidential Commission on Justice Reform, and former Minister of Justice.
Rule of Law in 2013
Accountability, protection of fundamental rights, transparency, fairness, law enforcement and access to justice: these principles and goals are essential to achieving economic prosperity and opportunity and to protecting and advancing human rights. They are at the core of ISLP's work.
In 2013 alone, ISLP implemented more than 140 projects that:
Provided trainings and law courses to more than 1800 lawyers, advocates and government officials and 500 law students to enable them to more effectively represent clients and constituencies, comply with and enforce laws, and advocate for progressive law reform. These trainings covered topics ranging from skills and best practices in negotiating mining agreements to enforcement of new disability laws to litigation strategies on behalf of victims of citizenship discrimination;
Assisted more than 22 government ministries and civil society organizations in drafting and/or commenting on proposed laws, regulations or policies affecting public procurement, public-private partnerships, mining, disability rights, land rights, rights to citizenship, health policy, media law, the provision of legal aid and other sectors affecting economic development, social justice and civil and political rights;
Sent experienced lawyers to 19 government ministries and public defender, legal assistance and human rights organizations to provide long-term onsite and follow-up offsite mentoring and advice to assist with immediate challenges and build local capacity;
Assisted local lawyers, government ministries and community advocates in 16 litigations to advance rights or enforce investment contracts;
Provided counsel from highly experienced international transactional lawyers for the review, negotiation and/or enforcement of nine major petroleum, mining or public-private partnership agreements, delivering assistance that helped or will help to secure the best possible financial returns and include provisions for transparency and community benefits that reflect international “best practice” standards; and
- Helped to establish or strengthen eight regional and local tribunals for the resolution of commercial and human rights disputes in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.