The Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence

The rule of law in weak-state contexts

13Sept2016 12:00 - 13:00


Paul Scholten Centre Colloquium with Sander Wirken (ACIL). Discussant: Marc de Wilde.

Venue: Oudemanhuispoort, room A0.09

  • Oudemanhuispoort

    Oudemanhuispoort 4-6 | 1012 CN Amsterdam
    +31 (0)20 525 3361

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The concept of the rule of law was developed predominantly in strong-state contexts, where its purpose was to curb tyranny and authoritarianism. In the context of weak and/or criminalized states, the rule of law functions fundamentally differently, as the first need is to curb anarchy. The function of curbing anarchy is oftentimes overlooked in rule of law development aid. Particularly detrimental is the tendency to perceive of the rule of law as the bringer of democracy, security, human rights and economic development, thus overburdening the rule of law up to the point of perceived neutrality and avoiding its inherently political nature. Central to our understanding of the rule of law in weak and/or criminalized state contexts should be its political nature, and the fact that those who are currently gaining from a weak rule of law stand to lose a lot from strengthening of the rule of law.

Research colloquium, organised by the Paul Scholten Centre. This colloquium is open to all, no registration required. A copy of the paper can be obtained via

Published by  Paul Scholten Centre