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Rule of Law

Volume 679: debated on Tuesday 8 September 2020

Promoting the rule of law internationally is integral to the UK’s global influence and to our status as a force for good. That is one of the reasons that the Foreign Secretary has commended the candidature of Judge Joanna Korner QC for election as a judge in the International Criminal Court in the December 2020 elections. The FCDO is supporting ROLE UK to provide expertise in law and justice to developing countries through its partnerships for development programme.

I thank the Minister for that answer, and I wish my old friend and colleague Judge Korner well in her candidature. Of course, the best way to promote the rule of law is always to adhere to it ourselves. But more specifically, will the Minister confirm that the Government will continue with the excellent ROLE UK, the rule of law expertise programme that has been run by the Department for International Development for the last five years, which has given very modest grants to enable British lawyers and judges to give pro bono advice and support to developing countries?

I thank my hon. Friend. We have greatly appreciated the enormous contribution of the pro bono work of some of the UK’s best judges and legal professionals, delivered through the ROLE UK programme. This year we had to reduce its funding owing to potential shrinkage in the UK economy and a decrease in the value of the 0.7% commitment. The FCDO has had to prioritise urgent and high-priority work, such as tackling climate change, championing girls’ education, and UK leadership in the global response to covid-19. Although this is a significant cut, through our conversations with ROLE UK we are satisfied that we will be able to continue its good work.