The Rule of Law

A transparent judiciary and the rule of law form the basis for inclusive, sustainable and equitable development.

The rule of law implies that the government and the administration may only act within the framework of existing legislation and is both the basis of a functioning democracy and a central element of good governance.  In this way, citizens are protected from arbitrary state action, discrimination and human rights violations. A transparent judiciary and the rule of law form the basis for inclusive, sustainable and equitable development and accelerate the implementation of the development goals of the 2030 Agenda. 

An essential feature of the rule of law is the separation of powers, in particular the independence of the judiciary: all state decisions must be reviewable by independent courts, and every citizen must have the opportunity to enforce his or her rights in court. In addition, the rule of law also includes legal certainty, i.e. that it can be foreseen what legal consequences actions may have. Court proceedings must be fair, criminal offences must be prosecuted. Legal certainty is also of great importance for a country's economy, since investors need to have the assurance that state decisions are made transparently, reliably and predictably and cannot be arbitrarily changed or reversed.

Most European countries have a high level of rule of law, as was recently established in an EU-wide analysis of the rule of law by the EU Commission. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the rule of law is one of several constitutional principles of the Basic Law.

The strengthening of rule of law cooperation and collaboration with the judiciary may contribute to the enhancement of the rule of law in partner countries. A cooperation to expand and establish rule of law capacities, for example the development of an independent bar association and the promotion of a predictable and transparent administration, contributes to an increased domestic and international legal certainty.

Within the framework of its expert network, the Governance Fund offers the opportunity to exchange experiences in order to foster the rule of law in partner countries. The Governance Fund's support services encompass moderated exchanges of expertise and experience, short-term assignments of decision-makers and experts in the partner country, study trips to Germany and workshops.