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Speech by Lord Justice Gross: How can judges strengthen the rule of law?

|Speeches|Lord Justice Gross


  1. It is an honour to have been asked to take part in this J20 conference. The opportunity to exchange ideas and best practice between judicial colleagues from this group of nations is immediately apparent. The larger challenge is to put these exchanges to good practical use and the question which I am privileged to address could not be more important. That question is ‘how can judges strengthen the rule of law?’
  2. The question is asked against the background of the high aspirations of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Indicators[1], including (amongst many others) ending poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and combating climate change. The practical inquiry is how the Rule of Law can advance these goals and how Judges can strengthen the Rule of Law so that it can do so.
  3. My theme, in a nutshell, is this: assuming the political will to accomplish the goals of sustainable development, the Rule of Law is essential to their accomplishment. The Judiciary, as the independent third branch of the State, can do much to strengthen the Rule of Law but neither the Judiciary nor the Rule of Law can do it alone. All three branches of the State must respect each other’s preserves for the Rule of Law to be sustainable, to flourish and to provide the foundation for the achievement of social goals. That is the theme I shall develop today. The views expressed are my own.

[1] Contained in the Report of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (2017)

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