The Center for Teaching the Rule of Law and its innovative Rule of Law Project are a web-based resource and training center for teaching the rule of law on a global scale.
Our purpose is to change fundamentally the way the rule of law is taught and understood. It must become known as the first rung on the ladder of understanding democratic ideals, principles and institutions. Providing the resources to effectively teach the rule of law, beginning with a simple definition of what it is, will strengthen communities, build nations and make the world a more just and safe place.
The Center's definition of the rule of law contains the ideals that must exist for democratic principles to work:
- Governments and their officials are bound by the law,
- Citizens are actively engaged in making laws that govern them,
- Laws are fairly and equally applied to everyone, and
- Citizens agree to obey the law
These principles are preserved and protected by independent judges who interpret the law and provide the necessary check against governmental overreaching, unjust laws and unlawful behavior. Together, they provide the basis for all civil societies, past, present and future.
The rule of law is the tie that binds citizens together as nations of diverse people, it sustains constitutional forms of democracy, systems of justice, economies, our natural environment, and civil societies based on democratic principles.
Teaching everyone these lessons, especially our children, will give them a personal relationship with the rule of law that encourages active and engaged citizenship, the most vital part of democracy. If we do not, the rule of law as we know it will fade away, diminishing its preeminent role as the beacon of hope and opportunity for all.