Comment by James Harper, Executive Sponsor, LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation & Former General Counsel:
Black Lives Matter is important on a number of levels.
It brings into stark focus a deep-rooted inequality experienced by a specific community, an inequality that has become so normalised and entrenched in many people’s lives that it ceases to stand out as being wrong. It is our hope that the BLM movement will reverse this trend and begin a process of education and understanding we could all benefit from.
It also highlights the fundamental need for people to be protected equally by the law and have their rights upheld by the law. This lies at the heart of the Rule of Law – that all are equal under the law.
We know that, for many people, centuries old prejudices mean that there is far more we need to do as a community if we are to ensure that black lives do indeed matter. Wherever a group has their rights disadvantaged, supressed, or ignored, the Rule of Law is absent.
And where the Rule of Law is absent, poverty and tyranny is not far behind. The Rule of Law Impact Tracker shows that countries where the Rule of Law is not protected see lower scores against various socio-economic measures (such as GDP, life expectancy, child mortality and corruption).
At LexisNexis, we work with communities around the world to uphold and advance the Rule of Law. Whether it is taking mobile courts into the jungles of Borneo; or ensuring legal aid lawyers in Sierra Leone have more than one set of law texts between them; or supporting those providing free legal advice in the UK by giving access to our content and support in driving efficiency through technology, the Rule of Law is at the heart of everything we do.
Governments and companies alike can join us in this mission, to advance the Rule of Law. Just like Black Lives Matter, education and dialogue is critical. For Governments, ensuring our 4 pillars of the Rule of Law are protected and upheld. And for companies, thinking about what it is that they do best, and how that can help others – like the examples in the Business for the Rule of Law Framework we helped the United Nations to create.