Rule of Law

The Importance of the Rule of Law in Promoting Development by Laila Hamzi

The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and the Singapore Academy of Law jointly organised a Symposium on 23 May 2014 in Singapore to explore the importance of the rule of law in promoting development. Governments, the judiciary, and the private sector all have an interest in understanding and exploring the connections between various components of the rule of law—such as legal certainty and transparency of laws, anti-corruption, order and security, equal application of the law, and access to justice—and economic progress, social development, and political stability. The Symposium was held in anticipation of the UN General Assembly’s consideration of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2014, recognising the inherent value of exchanging ideas about the rule of law and the growing international debate on the relationship between the rule of law and development.

The Symposium brought together pre-eminent speakers to foster discussion from Singaporean, regional and international perspectives. Among those presenting were Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell, KCMG QC, Director of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law; Mr Christopher Stephens, General Counsel of the Asian Development Bank; The Honourable Attorney-General of the Republic of Singapore Mr Steven Chong SC; The Right Honourable The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers KG PC, former President of the UK Supreme Court; and The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Singapore. The speakers were divided into four panels which focused on the rule of law and economic and social development, the rule of law and business and finance, the rule of law and foreign investment, and judicial perspectives on the rule of law and development. 

The questions considered at the Symposium were of both practical and theoretical significance as panellists represented a range of sectors. How, in practice, is the rule of law interrelated with and how does it reinforce economic and social development? What do businesses, financial institutions, international investors, policy-makers and legal practitioners see as the key rule of law challenges in each of their fields? How may these challenges be better addressed?

An edited collection of papers will be published by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law in due course.

Laila Hamzi is an intern at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

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