IBA looks to 1997 for rule of law push

THE UNITED Nations will be asked to declare 1997 the Year of the Rule of Law if a proposal to be put to the International Bar Association Council later this month is approved.

IBA president Ross Harper will submit the two-page resolution in Paris at the 25th conference of the Section on Business Law. The central aim of the proposal is to alter attitudes across the globe and ensure strict observance of law.

The resolution follows another IBA plan to establish an International Criminal Court. The motion, passed at a meeting in Edinburgh earlier this year, is now before the UN.

“As I travel abroad, I am more and more impressed by the importance attached in all countries to the rule of law,” said Harper. “The concept is equally relevant to developed and developing countries.”

The motion, which says the year must be “action-oriented” and not seen as a “one-off event”, will be seconded by Argentina's UN representative Emilio Cardenas, former chair of the UN Security Council.

“As lawyers we are the trustees of liberty,” said Harper. “Without the rule of law there can be no liberty. Without liberty there can be no justice.”