Making (responsive) rule of law

Justitia, Tehran courthouse, Tehran, Iran

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 01 September 2015


Seminar Room 1.104, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Veronica L. Taylor


Emma Larking
+61 (0)2 6125 1513

Borrowing from Latour, this seminar starts from the premise that we are, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, engaged in (re)making rule of law. This is not a simple variant of earlier conceptions of rule of law (although it draws from these), but the structured production and promotion of ‘rule of law’ and practice by new kinds of legal and non-legal actors.

This seminar describes the scope and scale of the rule of law promotion enterprise, particularly in postconflict locations – how it is structured, and how it is imagined from different disciplinary perspectives. It draws on a range of socio-legal and regulatory theories to frames the rule of law enterprise, as well as using insights from economics, anthropology and development studies.

We then look at a network of projects, including a multi-year empirical study in progress, that chart the emergence of the local and international actors who make the rule of law. We ask what constitutes rule of law ‘work’, how it is performed, and with what effects. Projects within the network look at the way that individual practitioners navigate the dissonance that they experience between the declared normative goals of rule of law, and the technocratic and commercial character of rule of law interventions in practice. The important normative question here is whether responsive regulatory theory has something to offer to the regulatory domain of rule of law promotion.

The seminar closes by considering the theoretical and practical implications of viewing rule of law as a constructed, contested, domain of regulatory policy and practice, rather than the end state in a linear narrative of human development.

About the Speaker

Veronica Taylor joined RegNet in 2010 as Professor and was Director until July 2014. She nows serves as Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. Prior to joining the ANU she was Director of the Asian Law Center at the University of Washington, Seattle (2001-10) and remains a Senior Advisor to that Centre. In 2010 she was the inaugural Hague Visiting Professor in Rule of Law (HiiL/Leiden University).

Veronica has over twenty five years’ experience designing and leading rule of law and governance projects for the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and AUSAID. Her projects have focused on Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Burma/Myanmar, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, Vietnam and the United States. Her previous academic appointments include periods as Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo, research affiliation with the Australia-Japan Research Center at ANU and as Associate Director of the Asian Law Centre, University of Melbourne.

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