Rule of Law partners with Ukraine

The Rule of Law Collaborative at the University of South Carolina is increasing its international impact through a partnership to design a cutting-edge rule of law program for high-level lawyers, judges and law students in Ukraine.

The collaborative signed the two-year agreement worth up to $400,000 with Chemonics, a leading implementer of development programs around the world, to place the Rule of Law Collaborative at the heart of addressing some of the most pressing legal issues facing Ukraine. The program comes at a pivotal time as the country works toward reform.

“In recent years, Ukraine has embarked on a wide-ranging process of reform, and the momentum is in place to overcome a complex legacy on rule of law issues,” says Joel Samuels, Carolina law professor and director of the collaborative. “As Ukraine faces the challenge of reforming almost all key areas of the state’s operations, a meaningful rule of law program designed to train leaders in the legal community is an essential component of reform efforts.”

The Rule of Law Collaborative works to develop the discipline of the rule of law, advance research and theories in the field and improve development policies. With more than 60 faculty associates across a range of disciplines, the collaborative takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the rule of law. In 2014, it began a program called Justice Sector Training, Research and Coordination that fosters teaching and research for law professionals around the world who wish to deepen their knowledge.

The rule of law certificate program is part of a larger project in Ukraine known as New Justice, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

“ROLC understands the challenges of applying rule of law theories and definitions in the developing world,” says Steve Austermiller, senior international development expert at the collaborative, who will have a role in the New Justice project.

The project will include program assessment, design and some aspects of delivery in coordination with Ukrainian partners. The Rule of Law Collaborative team and faculty associates at Carolina are uniquely placed to develop this program, according to Samuels.

“ROLC brings to bear a unique set of experiences both from the field and from the academy,” he says.

The collaborative's broad approach places the university at the heart of conversations about how to improve the rule of law, both domestically and abroad.

“Achieving effective rule of law is neither straightforward nor precise,” Samuels says. “So, if we are going to make an inroad, we have to be innovative. By bringing to bear such a rich set of experiences from across disciplines, Carolina meets rule of law challenges from a variety of angles and designs approaches that benefit from diverse experiences and methodologies.”

To learn more about the work being done at the Rule of Law Collaborative, visit

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