Rule of Law Symposium

Friday 1000 – 1700

In Prague 2005, the IBA Council passed a Rule of Law Resolution. It was followed by a rule of law initiative in 2006. The Rule of Law Action Group has been given the responsibility to provoke, urge and assist the membership of the IBA in supporting and promoting the rule of law.

Since 2006, the final day of the annual IBA conferences has been dedicated to rule of law issues. Following successful rule of law symposia in Chicago, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Vancouver, Dubai and Dublin, the final day of the conference in Boston 2013 will also be devoted to the rule of law.

Corruption and the rule of law

Keynote speaker
Paul VolckerAmerican Economist and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve


Respect for the rule of law is an essential component of democratic governance. Corruption on the part of state officials is calculated to undermine the rule of law and erode public confidence in government. It constitutes theft from the pockets of all citizens and undermines the moral fibre of the citizenry. As was famously stated by Justice Louis D Brandeis, ‘Our government teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy’. The elimination of fraud and theft on the part of state officials is essential to safeguard the rule of law.

Magna Carta and the rule of law

Keynote speaker
Justice Stephen BreyerUS Supreme Court, Washington DC, USA


2015 will mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the ‘great charter’ that for the first time reined in the power of absolute English monarchs. The idea that all are subject to the law, including kings and presidents, had its origin in Magna Carta. It is also the basis of the rule of law, the very heart of a democratic form of government. It is appropriate that the International Bar Association in 2013 should look ahead to the important anniversary of a document that has inspired democracy and the rule of law in many countries.

Presentation of the IBA Human Rights Award 2013

The IBA award for outstanding contribution by a legal practitioner to human rights recognises personal endeavour in the field of law which makes an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights and the rule of law. The 2013 award will be presented to the winner at the Rule of Law Symposium. Previous winners include: Abdolfattah Soltani, Iran, for his courage and commitment to the rule of law and human rights in Iran, providing pro-bono legal counsel to those in need (2012); Dr Iván Velásquez Gómez, Colombia, for his commitment to human rights and justice and his courage working on governmental transparency and organised crime (2011); and Clive Stafford Smith, UK, for his commitment to death penalty justice in the US and his representation of clients and dedication to fighting against the use of torture and rendering prisoners to third-party rendition in Guantánamo Bay (2010).

This award is sponsored by