Rule of Law Reform and Development

Rule of Law Reform and Development

Charting the Fragile Path of Progress

Michael J. Trebilcock and Ronald J. Daniels

This important book addresses a number of key issues regarding the relationship between the rule of law and development. It presents a deep and insightful inquiry into the current orthodoxy that the rule of law is the panacea for the world’s problems. The authors chart the precarious progress of law reforms both in overall terms and in specific policy areas such as the judiciary, the police, tax administration and access to justice, among others. They accept that the rule of law is necessarily tied to the success of development, although they propose a set of procedural values to enlighten this institutional approach. The authors also recognize that states face difficulties in implementing this institutional structures and identify the probable impediments, before proposing a rethink of law reform strategies and offering some conclusions about the role of the international community in the rule of law reform.

Chapter 1: The Relationship of the Rule of Law to Development

Michael J. Trebilcock and Ronald J. Daniels

Subjects: development studies, development economics, law and development, economics and finance, development economics, law and economics, law - academic, law and development, law and economics


I. The Rule of Law and Development According to Thomas Carothers, One cannot get through a foreign policy debate these days without someone proposing the rule of law as a solution to the world’s troubles. The concept is suddenly everywhere – a venerable part of western political philosophy enjoying a new run as a rising imperative of the era of globalization. Unquestionably, it is important to life in peaceful, free, and prosperous societies. Yet its sudden elevation as a panacea for the ills of countries in transition from dictatorships or statist economies should make both patients and prescribers wary. The rule of law promises to move countries past the first, relatively easy phase of political and economic liberalization to a deeper level of reform. But that promise is proving difficult to fulfill. In a similar vein, Yves Dezalay and Bryant Garth claim that “the rule of law has become a new rallying cry for global missionaries. Money doctors selling competing economic expertises continue to be very active on the global plain but the 1990s also witnessed a tremendous growth in rule doctors armed with their own competing prescriptions for legal reforms and new legal institutions at the national and transnational level … So far the rule of law industry cannot claim too many successes in the latest campaign.” According to Brian Tamanaha, For all but the most sanguine observers, the triumphalist confidence of the 1990s has dissolved … Amidst this host of new uncertainties there appears to be widespread agreement, traversing all fault...

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