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RULE OF LAW PRIZE COMPETITION

Over the summer of 2019, UROLA conducted its first annual Rule of Law Competition. The purpose of the program is to identify the best and most effective ways to promote the rule of law. Two separate competitions were held, each with a $10,000 prize. The competitions were judged by three neutral judges selected by UROLA. A total of seven applications were submitted for one or another of the prizes.

One prize was for a contestant’s previously undertaken rule of law activity, its impact on the intended beneficiaries, how it otherwise benefited the world, and/or how the contestant might revise the activity if it were to undertake it again. The winner of this prize was The International Legal Foundation (ILF), an NGO headquartered in New York whose mission is to ensure access to justice for poor, vulnerable, and marginalized accused persons by strengthening legal aid systems around the world. ILF’s contest-winning rule of law activity involved its establishment of a Legal Aid System and strengthening the rule of law in Afghanistan from 2001 and 2019. ILF stated that it had represented over 50,000 poor people suspected or accused of offenses across 21 provinces in Afghanistan since opening the country’s first public defender office in 2003. ILF’s work has led to greater respect for the rule of law and enhanced protection of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable population, especially women and children.

The other prize was for a proposal for a new activity, on the order of and at the level of an ALI (American Law Institute) for a particular country, and the plan to implement it. The winner of this prize was the International Institute for Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), an independent intergovernmental organization based in Rome. UNIDROIT examines ways of harmonizing and coordinating the private law of states and groups of states and to prepare gradually for their adoption of uniform rules of private law. UNIDROIT’s winning proposal was to foster good practices for agricultural contracts based on country legal guides on contract farming. The overall goal of the proposal is to foster sustainable economic growth and social stability in rural economies through legal support to achieve more equitable contract farming. UNIDROIT's proposed new activity is to include, among other things, country assessment through an economic, legal, administrative and social analysis/diagnostics in partnership with local partners; drafting a country-specific Legal Guide on Contract Farming; managing a process of consensus building through a policy dialogue; and possible technical assistance.

UROLA is pleased with the success of its first rule of law competition and looks forward to continuing the competition on an annual basis.

 

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