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LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation Strives to Promote Equal Justice Around the World

September 22, 2023 (4 min read)

By Nigel Roberts

The basic idea of the “rule of law” goes back at least as far as 2000 BC, when the Babylonian king inscribed the laws for his country on a stone pillar that could be read by all his subjects. This Code of Hammurabi bound the king himself to the laws as well, sending a signal that no one was above the law.

We see evidence of the rule of law in ancient societies in the centuries that followed — including the writings of Confucius — but it was the signing of the Magna Carta by England’s King John in 1215 that provided a globally influential symbol for the pursuit of justice and fairness. More than 800 years later, that pursuit marches on.

LexisNexis has a unique vantage point from which to observe this pursuit and we have long considered it our obligation to utilize our talented people, robust data and, leading-edge technology to advance the rule of law around the world. With this corporate mission, we have prioritized the allocation of our resources to support those working for fundamental and lasting changes that promote equal justice under the law.

In 2019, we took this commitment to a new level with the creation of the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation. This non-profit entity was established as a vehicle through which we can seek out and shape projects with key partners and our incredibly talented employees to create meaningful, sustainable change in local, national, regional and global initiatives that enhance the key elements of the rule of law.

We believe there are four key areas that form the umbrella protection of the rule of law:

  • Equality Under the Law

All people, businesses and governments are accountable, and the law applies to everyone in the same way, no matter who you are.

  • Transparency of Law

Laws must be clear, precise, affordable and accessible, while protecting fundamental human rights.

  • Independent Judiciary

An independent judiciary ensures equality and fairness of law between people and public officials.

  • Accessible Legal Remedy

There must be access to timely resolution in a court of law.

The stronger that each of these four components are, the greater the rule of law will prevail in a society. So, we have leaned into this issue by bringing our worldwide talent, data and technology to bear in order to develop a variety of tools that can help track and report on how various countries, states and regions are doing with respect to the rule of law.

One such tool is the LexisNexis Rule of Law Impact Tracker. This was created by LexisNexis employees who volunteered their time to build an interactive tool that quantifies the relationship between rule of law and social and economic development. The data is important because there is a correlation between a country’s commitment to the rule of law and various positive social and economic conditions within that country (e.g., wealth, child mortality, public corruption, etc.). Unfortunately, the tracker is sending out some warning alarms that should concern all of us: for the fifth consecutive year, the rule of law has declined in most countries, according to our partners at the World Justice Project.

Another important tool we have developed is the LexisNexis Rule of Law Monitor. This is another creation of LexisNexis employees who volunteered their time to build a tool that combines the results from surveys of citizens across 170 countries with analyses of legal processes around the world. We monitor 10 key areas, such as access to justice, speed of justice, public trust in the courts, perceptions of equality under the law, and transparency of laws. All of our data, analysis and reports are openly available to all.

But our greatest asset is our people. The team of more than 11,000 LexisNexis employees around the globe are the hands and feet of the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation. They invest their time, skills and insights to take our projects from vision to reality. Examples of these projects include:

  • eyeWitness to Atrocities — In partnership with the International Bar Association, we combined law and technology to assist human rights defenders in documenting and reporting human rights atrocities in a secure and verifiable way;
  • Women in Leadership in Law — We assisted the Law Society of England and Wales with an initiative to promote social mobility and women in leadership in the law; and
  • Freedom in the World — In partnership with the non-profit Freedom House, we provided necessary scanning and data cleanup to support production of a flagship annual report that assesses the condition of political rights and civil liberties around the world.

It is my privilege to serve as the vice president of the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation and sometimes I find myself astonished at how quickly my LexisNexis and RELX colleagues around the world will jump at the opportunity to volunteer their time on one of our new projects. Several months ago, I posted a request on our internal project dashboard (see screen shot below) for assistance with a global project to identify laws around the world that discriminate against individuals who have suffered from leprosy. Within a matter of hours, a team of 14 volunteers had been assembled to tackle this project.

Earlier this year, we produced a short video that summarizes the mission, vision and values of the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation, as well as provides a brief recap of recent projects we have completed. Watch it here to learn more about our commitment to advancing the rule of law in every corner of the globe.