Rule of Law and International Development

Furthering good governance and transparency in international aid is a particular focus of our community investment programme.

One example of this is our work with Camfed International, who believe that delivering girls’ education and the empowerment of young women is the route to lasting change in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2010 we produced a ground-breaking report entitled Camfed Governance, Accounting to the Girl: Working Towards a Standard of Governance in the International Development Sector. The report was launched at the Skoll World Forum and was followed with a commitment to raise awareness of the good governance in the development sector as part of the Clinton Global Initiative. Since then Linklaters has founded an annual conference, “Advancing Good Governance in International Development” with Oxford University and Camfed International. The conference serves as an annual gathering of academics, practitioners, donors and government officials to consider issues of governance critical to the development sector.

Linklaters won the Most Innovative Law Firm in the Social Responsibility category at the FT Innovative Lawyers European Awards for the launch of its International Governance and Development practices. Judges were impressed by the firm’s commitment to the United Nation’s principles of good governance and how the firm pulls together expertise from across practices to improve governance standards for both clients and for the not-for-profit sector, and working on both a pro bono and a paid-for basis. This work has developed from and is closely aligned with the pro bono work we did on governance in 2010 for CAMFED, an international child rights’ charity campaigning for female education, ‘Governance - Accounting to the Girl’. This is an illustration of the way in which our pro bono work blends into our practice as a whole.

In an innovative and award-winning pro bono project, a team of over 200 lawyers completed the ambitious task of producing an indexed digest of the jurisprudence of Liberia from 1860-2012. The case digests and index have been published and hard copies have been distributed to every judge in the cities and rural areas of Liberia, including the Law School in Monrovia, and the U.S. embassy in Liberia. This was a result of a five-year multi-party effort by Lawyers Without Borders, Linklaters, in-house legal counsel at Vodafone, Thomson Reuters Foundation, the World Bank, USAID and a number of others. This project received Global Pro Bono Project of the Year: Africa at the American Lawyer Global Legal Awards 2014.

Judges and lawyers in Liberia are now able to access, consider and build upon Liberian case precedent. This reinforces the rule of law which was severely disrupted during the political upheaval and civil wars under Charles Taylor. The digest and its supplement mark the beginning of a new era in Liberian law by minimising the potential for inconsistent judicial decisions. The project is a testament to what is possible with the right commitment by the right parties, and serves as a replicable model of sustainability and best practice.