Handbook on the Rule of Law
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Handbook on the Rule of Law

Edited by Christopher May and Adam Winchester

The discussion of the norm of the rule of law has broken out of the confines of jurisprudence and is of growing interest to many non-legal researchers. A range of issues are explored in this volume that will help non-specialists with an interest in the rule of law develop a nuanced understanding of its character and political implications. It is explicitly aimed at those who know the rule of law is important and while having little legal background, would like to know more about the norm.
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Chapter 26: The rule of law as a marketing tool: The International Criminal Court and the branding of global justice

Christine Schwöbel-Patel


The legal empowerment of the poor (LEP) approach attracted worldwide attention when it claimed that over four billion people live without legal protection and that poverty persists partly because the poor do not enjoy legal rights or the power to exercise those rights. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the concept of legal empowerment and how it is distinct from human rights-based approaches. The ensuing discussion thereafter examines the reaction of the international community to a series of reports published by the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor in 2005 and the extent to which the approach has since been mainstreamed in global development efforts. The final sections of the chapter critically examine the legal and political dimensions of empowerment with specific reference to the much-publicized right to food case in India. I argue that an over-reliance on LEP is inadequate in tackling difficult questions of inequality, discrimination, and poverty. Without an explicit focus on power and politics, approaches such as the LEP will not be able to achieve sustained poverty reduction.

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