Essay contest on “The Role of the Lawyer in the Economic and Social Development of his Country within the Framework of the Rule of Law”

The ICJ announced today at its Geneva headquarters a world-wide Contest on the theme The Role of the Lawyer in the Economic and Social Development of his Country within the Framework of the Rule of Law.

This Essay Contest is designed to determine the trends of thinking of young lawyers and law students about crucial present-day economic and social problems and their relationship to the Rule of Law. In order to reach as many students as possible, letters describing the Contest have been sent to the Deans and Heads of Law schools in 77 countries and folders containing the regulations in ‘ four languages have been widely distributed. Substantial cash prizes as well as publication of the winning entries were announced as awards.

With this contest the Commission endeavours to explore what contribution young lawyers might make towards resolving the problems raised by the implementation of the Rule of Law in a changing world and discussed at the International Congress of Jurists in New Delhi in January 1959. The purpose of this Congress, which was attended by 185 judges, lawyers and professors of law from 53 countries and opened by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was to define and clarify the meaning of the Rule of Law in the context of modern day problems. The Declaration of Delhi which issued from these deliberations recognized the Rule of Law as “a dynamic concept… which should be employed not only to safeguard and advance the civil and political rights of the individual in a free society but also to establish social, economic, educational and cultural conditions under which his legitimate aspirations and dignity may be realized.”

Among its other activities, the Commission has conducted extensive research and a number of study projects on the role of the Rule of Law in new societies in which rapid development towards political and economic independence is accompanied by problems of constitutional stability and of the protection on the rights of the individual.

In order to encourage law students and young lawyers interested in the problems of the Rule of Law, the International Commission of Jurists a non-governmental organization in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council – announces an international essay contest on the theme: “The Role of the Lawyer in the Economic and Social Development of His Country within the Framework of the Rule of Law”.


1. Subject

Essays may be written on the theme in general or on any specific national or international aspect decided upon by the entrant. The essays submitted should deal with the impact on each other of the need for economic and social development and the promotion and preservation of fundamental freedoms under law. There should be a discussion of the question whether the Rule of Law is properly to be seen as solely a defence against infringements of the fundamental freedoms or whether it requires a positive attempt by lawyers – in the broad sense of the term, i.e., judges, teachers of law and practising lawyers – to promote simultaneously the conditions in which man’s legitimate social, economic, educational and cultural aspirations may be fulfilled. The essay should be prepared in a publishable form, with proper citation of relevant material.

2. Closing date

Entries must be received at the Geneva offices of the Commission not later than August 31, 1960.

3. Eligibility

The entrants must belong to one of the following categories :

(a) Persons certified by their respective Dean, Tutor, or other responsible officer as registered students in a recognised school or faculty of law, or in a school or faculty of political and/or social science where instruction and examination in law forms part of the curriculum leading to a degree;

(b) Persons who have graduated in law or in a subject which included an examination in law not earlier than 1957 ;

(c) Persons reading for the Bar or otherwise undergoing formal instruction, GS required in each particular country, with a view to becoming qualified as a judge or to practise law.

In case of doubt as to the eligibility the Adjudication Committee shall decide in the last resort.

4. Languages

Entries may be written in English, French, German or Spanish.

5. Form of submission

Entries must be typewritten, double-spaced, on one side of the page only and submitted in five copies.

6. Length

Entries should contain a minimum of 10,000 words.

7. Adjudication

Entries will be judged by an Adjudication Committee of distinguished judges, academic lawyers and practitioners drawn from different countries. Names will be made known at a later date. National committees consisting of distinguished jurists may be appointed to judge national entries for submission as final entries to the international committee.

8. Awards

First prize: Cash award of 2,000 Swiss francs;

Second prize: Cash award of 1,000 Swiss francs;

Third and Fourth prize: Two cash awards of 500 Swiss francs.

Winning entries as well as those receiving honourable mention will be published in the Journal or in another publication of the Commission.

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