Why ROL Standards?

The need to develop Rule of Law Standards (“ROLS”) against which to measure performance of those in authority against Rule of Law principles would seem obvious.

However, before you can develop Standards for the Rule of Law or anything else, there needs to be consensus on the definition of what is to be measured, there needs to be a hypothesis about the relationship between cause and effect of what is measured and the variables to to be measured, and there needs to be information systems and quantitative datasets compiled from which data is drawn for measurement.

None of these exist in relation to the Rule of Law: There is no commonly accepted definition of the Rule of Law. There is no theory explaining the nexus between cause of effect of the Rule of Law. There are no information systems and quantitative datasets to obtain data necessary to the measurement of variables against Rule of Law Standards.

Unless a concept like the Rule of Law is defined in such a way that it is amenable to cause and effect analysis and measurement, the only model available to bolster the Rule of Law is one which focuses on discovering what correlates with its effects, and and then making attempts to influence the expression of correlative variables in the hopes that that will somehow call the Rule of Law into being.

This is a Humpty Dumpty approach to the Rule of Law conflates cause and effect, and then tries to fix the breakdown of the Rule of Law by putting into place variables that correlate its with presence, that has the high probability of leaving causes of the Rule of Law’s breakdown intact.

Our methodology in developing Rule of Law Standards, in the absence of an agreed-upon definition of the Rule of Law, has been to identify commonly accepted principles of the Rule of Law, to itemise what would be necessary to their operationalisation, to identify those as Standards, and to use those to developed appropriate information systems, datasets and measurement tools with which to identify and monitor compliance and non-compliance with those Standards.

Obviously this process has suggested possible definitions of the Rule of Law that we are still working through and with will inform the Standards with further development.