Rule of Law

I continue to be very busy teaching and having a great time in Cambodia. Last week, I lectured a bit on legal research techniques, a subject made challenging because of the lack of publicly available laws and judicial opinions in Cambodia (more on that later). This week, I am teaching about e-mail and letter writing, building on more complicated legal analyses.

I’m also spending some time learning more about rule-of-law activities in Cambodia.  Generally speaking, Rule of Law is the principle that law and legal standards should govern a nation, not the arbitrary whims of particular government officials. There are many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have been hard at work trying to help the Cambodian people and their government to build out their legal system on the principle of rule of law.

This morning, I met with attorneys and staff of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity. ACILS is a worldwide organization affiliated with the AFL-CIO that strives to improve working conditions and labor standards throughout the world. Its office was some distance away from my hotel (about a 40 minute tuk-tuk ride), but I really enjoyed getting to meet the staff there.

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Meeting with ACILS attorneys and staff.

ACILS is doing great work to help workers obtain fair wages, safe working conditions, and the ability to bargain collectively without retaliation. You can read more about its work here. I was invited to speak with them about legal writing and effective communication to different global audiences.

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A cute, friendly dog that came up to me at ACILS’ office.

Later, I had lunch with Rene Gradwohl, the head of the Cambodia office of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a German political foundation that works on rule-of-law activities.

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L-R: Me, Rene Gradwohl, Tom Pearson (Program Director of the International Master of Laws Programs at RULE)

KAS conducts trainings and publishes books and other materials to help countries with establishing and then reinforcing democratic principles. Tomorrow, for example, they are conducting a training workshop on legislative drafting.  KAS is also working to assist political processes, media development, participation in government, and foreign policy dialogue.

KAS publishes many of its materials online for free. One very helpful resource that I consulted early on—in fact, as soon as I learned that I was headed to Cambodia—was this book, an Introduction to Cambodian Law.

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Now, off to prepare for class!

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About Larry Cunningham

Law professor and Vice Dean at St. John's Law School. Former prosecutor and defense attorney.
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  1. Pingback: Perspective | My Fulbright in Cambodia

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