Amsterdam Research Institute for Legal Studies

The International Rule of Law

Amsterdam Law School research priority areas

The ‘rule of law’ means that everyone – institutions, states and individuals – must abide by the law. However, in a rapidly globalising world, traditional legal safeguards may change or cease to matter at all. The rule of law needs to adjust to the changing world.

The ‘rule of law’ means that everyone – institutions, states and individuals – must abide by the law.  However, in a rapidly globalising world, traditional legal safeguards may change or cease to matter at all.  The rule of law needs to adjust to the changing world.

In areas like security, health and the environment, states increasingly transfer their powers and responsibilities to international bodies, like the European Union or United Nations. States must then implement decisions these bodies make. But who makes sure the international organisations conform with international law?   Who is accountable if they fail in their role as protectors of universal interests?  Who makes sure states carry out their obligations?  What role is left for national values that have developed over centuries? 

The International Rule of Law research programme examines what principles and procedures can answer these and other questions.  It examines the nature of the rule of law in an international  context, and focuses, in particular, on how national and international bodies, including courts, may develop a new system of check and balances.

What is the importance of international law?

'High Priorities' is a film series about the UvA's research priority areas. In this episode, academics from the research priority area International Law clearly explain why it is so important to make arrangements in the case of matters between international players. The conflict in the former Yugoslavia is, among other things, discussed.

Published by  Faculty of Law

30 May 2016