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 4: Prosecution

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. Normative Benchmarks A. The Role of the Public Prosecutor Prosecutors exercise the accusation principle of criminal law: they can accuse an individual of a crime and bring him or her before a court of law. The fair and consistent exercise of the prosecutorial function is critical to the success of rule of law reforms. As a report by the International Commission of Jurists finds, “[r]espect for human rights and the rule of law presupposes a strong prosecutorial authority in charge of investigating and prosecuting criminal offences with independence and impartiality.” The significance of the prosecutorial function lies in the prosecutor’s responsibility to represent the public interest in criminal proceedings. As “representatives of the public interest,” effective prosecutors are vital to improving public perceptions of the criminal justice system. According to Nelson Mandela, “[t]he challenge for the modern prosecutor is to become a lawyer for the people … [and] to build an effective relationship with the community and to ensure that the rights of victims are protected.” As with judicial and police reform, prosecutorial reform is centrally preoccupied with the twin values of independence and accountability. However, experience with prosecutors varies widely, and there is no universal checklist of steps to achieve either goal. The values of independence and accountability can also conflict as improvements in one may come at the cost of the other. Moreover, lack of public confidence or perceived illegitimacy of prosecutors “International Principles on the Independence and Accountability of Judges, Lawyers and Prosecutors: A Practitioners...

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