Rule of Law
The Rule of Law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. The rule follows logically from the idea that truth, and therefore law, is based upon fundamental principles which can be discovered, but which cannot be created through an act of will.
The most important application of the rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedural steps that are referred to as due process. The principle is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance, whether by a totalitarian leader or by mob rule. Thus, the rule of law is hostile both to dictatorship and to anarchy.
LexisNexis is committed to playing a positive role in the community and becoming an authoritative voice in "higher order" legal and risk management business issues that are not only topical, but, more importantly, foundational to the stability of governments, the well-being of their citizens, and business. One example is our initiative regarding "the Rule of Law" and its role in preserving, protecting, and defending the rights and property of individuals and corporations around the world.
"There can be no Rule of Law unless there is access to the basic sources of law."
— Theuns Viljoen, CEO, LexisNexis Pacific
Rule of Law cannot exist without a transparent legal system, the main components of which are a clear set of laws that are freely and easily accessible to all, strong enforcement structures, and an independent judiciary to protect citizens against the arbitrary use of power by the state, individuals or any other organization.
In some countries the average citizen, businesses trying to operate in those countries, and even practicing lawyers have limited access to laws or legal decisions. Recognising this challenge, LexisNexis has pioneered to compile a collection of legal resources for disadvantaged countries across the globe. In the Pacific, we regularly offer resources to disadvantaged communities in times of need such as in the recent Queensland floods, the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires and to various South Pacific nations by offering complimentary access to our service or by updating laws and making them publicly available.
LexisNexis also publishes educational and evocative works to enrich public understanding of the Rule of Law such as Cases That Changed our Lives (2011) and Human Rights: Treaties, Statutes and Cases (2011).
"The provision of accessible, accurate legal materials is an essential element in ensuring those practicing and studying the law are informed correctly on legal principles, thus enabling them to learn and advise on what is correct legal action", Robin Creyke, Professor- Alumni Chair of Administrative Law, Australian National University in regards to the role LexisNexis plays in upholding the Rule of Law through its resource and workflow solutions.
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"In a society not adequately governed by the Rule of Law, human beings will be traded as goods."
— Dawn Conway, former SVP Corporate Responsibility, LexisNexis
It is estimated that one million people, mostly women and children, are trafficked around the world each year, lured into involuntary servitude and sexual slavery. Many of these millions are our neighbours in Southeast Asia. The gross and unjust economic exploitation of vulnerable people, especially women and children through trafficking, is a direct consequence of the absence of Rule of Law.
LexisNexis is committed to combating human trafficking by offering direct financial support and legal and technical advice to organisations working in the field to eradicate the illegal trade wherever it exists. Our primary focus has been on building awareness, providing legal capacity for pro bono work and working to promote the rule of law by providing access to the primary sources of law, namely laws and law reports.
Four organisations we proudly sponsor are the Somaly Mam Foundation, Project Futures, the Anti-Slavery Project and Child Wise. The Somaly Mam Foundation combats sexual slavery by funding NGOs that work at the grass-roots level to rescue victims from brothels and offer them shelter, safety, counseling, education, vocational skills, and assistance transitioning back into society. Project Futures and the Anti-Slavery Project have both been key in raising awareness in Australia of sex trafficking and human slavery. Child Wise, part of ECPAT International, is dedicated to protecting children from abuse and exploitation in Australia, Asia and the Pacific.
In addition to providing direct support for the four organisations, LexisNexis sponsors special events aimed at raising awareness of the existence of human trafficking worldwide. For example, in April 2010, LexisNexis hosted a special charity event screening of the film "Holly" to raise awareness across the legal profession of the growing international issue of human trafficking and to discuss Rule of Law. Guests were encouraged to utilise their skills and legal expertise to offer pro-bono assistance to the Somaly Mam Foundation and the Anti-Slavery Project.
An upcoming LexisNexis initiative is the global support of "Redlight", a powerful new feature documentary exposing the plight of children and emerging from the global issue of human trafficking. Screenings will be held within each location and will include a panel discussion and reception to raise awareness of the fight against this form modern-day slavery.
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"The Rule of Law can generate economic reform and unlock the social, political and economic potential that exists in societies."
— Henry Horbaczewski, former Corporate General Counsel, Reed Elsevier
LexisNexis believes that meaningful, deep-rooted economic development can only occur in societies where the Rule of Law exists. Robust economies are dependent upon the existence of clear laws that govern societies and commerce, and a strong, independent judiciary to impartially enforce laws and contracts so that citizens, institutions and foreign investors can risk capital and trust that risk is protected from arbitrary forces. The Rule of Law thus enables people and institutions to fulfill their dreams and aspirations individually and collectively.
LexisNexis promotes economic development and the Rule of Law in a variety of ways, including outreach and advocacy, educational forums, thought leadership, and the free dissemination of and training on LexisNexis® solutions.
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