Levin College of Law

Major U.S., Latin America Officials to Finalize Plans

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Key U.S. and Latin America international, governmental, legal and educational officials will convene here Sunday to finalize plans for establishment of a universities-based Rule of Law Center for Judicial Reform in the Americas.

Action will come during the two-day 4th Annual “Legal & Policy Issues in the Americas” conference organized by the Center for Governmental Responsibility of the University of Florida Levin College of Law and scheduled for the UF’s Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center.

Participants will include representatives of 14 international universities from eight countries, six international organizations and five businesses, eight law firms with global interests, five U.S. universities and 12 UF academic departments.

“A democracy without an effective judiciary governed by the rule of law inhibits its citizens from enjoying basic freedoms and discourages international community involvement and investment in that country,” said UF law Dean Jon Mills, CGR founder / director and conference organizer. “The proposed Rule of Law Center will be a universities-based program designed to focus on issues relating to judicial reform and fair administration of justice.”

Mills said potential Rule of Law Center collaborators are the Justice Studies Center of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, operated through the Organization of American States, and law schools at universities in Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Jamaica, Venezuela and Colombia.

“The panelists, main speakers and commentators committed to this conference are well-qualified to assist in development of this new venture, proposed to be housed at UF,” Mills said.

According to Mills, the Rule of Law Center would work through university partnerships to provide assistance to involved countries in such areas as human rights issues, due process, judicial system operation, individual rights, legislative drafting, election reform, separation of powers, alternative dispute resolution, money laundering and financial crimes, and environmental and military law.

The law dean said precedent has been set for such a center based on efforts throughout the Americas by the law school and its Center for Governmental Responsibility, including decades of work with non-governmental organizations, federal and state agencies and universities on research, technical assistance, training, exchanges workshops, seminars and conferences.

“The Rule of Law Center is based on the strength of the interconnection of democracy and economic improvement, “ Mills said, “and without a strengthened system of justice throughout the Americas, a safe and protected citizenry and a viable economy is impossible.”

Among major Center objectives in the Americas:

  1. Establish alliance of leading universities to focus on fair administration of justice
  2. Foster development of inter-parliamentary relations to promote rule of law
  3. Establish legal policies that promote development of private property rights and economic and political stability.
  4. Develop training and technical assistance at request of governmental and non-governmental entities in the justice field
  5. Create a cadre of legal and policy experts to respond to international issues
  6. Initiate ongoing dialogue among legal professionals, law professors, government officials and public servants to assist in resolving questions of justice and legality

In addition to CGR, others sponsoring the conference include the Justice Studies Center of the Americas, the law school’s Florida Journal of International Law, and UF’s Warrington School of Business Center for International Business Education and Research.

Media Notes:

  • Comprehensive list of speakers, participants, commentators attached
    (Call Communications Office (352.392.9586) or additional copies)
  • Details on accommodations, meeting agenda, media arrangements:
  • JoAnn Klein, Conference Executive: 352.392.2237 / klein@law.ufl.edu
    Lenny Kennedy, Conference Assistant: 352.392.2237 / Lkennedy@law.ufl.edu

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