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Rule of Law Writing Competition

Encourages law students to submit analytical writings on what the rule of law is, or should be, the interpretation or implementation of existing or suggested legislation or case law and whether or not it furthered the equal and fair regulation of civil and human rights.

Submissions are accepted on an aspect of the Rule of Law, demonstrating how the Rule of Law affected the topic, defining the Rule of Law, criticizing the Rule of Law, or demonstrating the economic social or political effects of the Rule of Law. Winners receive scholarships to help pay for law school tuition.

Competition Closes In


Rule of Law Writing Competition Rules

  1. Eligibility: This competition is open to Law Review Articles authors who are juris doctorate and LLM candidates enrolled at an ABA or California State accredited law school during the eligibility period and whose article is published during the period. The eligibility period is the year preceding the Due Date.
  2. Limit on Entries: Each author may submit one entry. Each law school may submit up to three entries.
  3. Topic: Entries should relate to the Rule of Law and may address any or all of the following:
    • Define the Rule of Law or comment upon the attached definition; or
    • Comment on the importance or the effects of the Rule of Law, any of its elements, or the lack of a Rule of Law on society.
  4. Criteria: Eligible entries shall meet standards of academic worthiness determined by the Selection Committee and be judged on an overall merit basis.
  5. Due Date: Entries for the scholarships are due February 1, 2023 and shall be submitted electronically in Word or searchable pdf form to kenneth.petrulis [at] verizon.net. Late submissions and hard copies will not be considered.
  6. Entry Form: Entries shall a separate containing the author’s address, telephone number, email address, and the title of the article as well as a one or two line synopsis. Link to Certification & Transfer of Rights Form and Title Page and Contact Information Form.
  7. Selection Committee: Shall consist of a minimum of five (5) members chosen by the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation Board of Governors representing the community at large, the academic community and practicing attorneys, who have a demonstrated interest or expertise in the Rule of Law.
  8. Announcement of Scholarships: The scholarship recipients will be announced on March 1, 2023.
  9. Rule of Law Scholarships: Scholarships shall include a $2,500 prize for the winning author and two $500 honorable mention scholarships to be chosen from eligible entries. Each scholarship recipient will receive a ticket to the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation’s Annual Supreme Court luncheon where the scholarships will be presented. Winning and honorable mention entries recognized by the BHBF and Beverly Hills Bar Association on their website www.bhba.org.

Additional Information or Questions: Contact Kenneth G. Petrulis: kenneth.petrulis [at] verizon.net

About the Rule of Law Writing Competition

The Rule of Law is not well defined. It needs to be. The lack of a definition lends to its use as an epithet for whatever the speaker wants it to mean. It also inhibits the study of the rule of Law, its aspects and its effects. Study will test and refine the rule. Study will allow predictions of its effects to be tested. Assuming its benefits can be predicted and verified the Rule of Law will be validated as the fundamental value which sets one nation above another in its recognition of both human rights and economic success.

A fair justice system founded in tolerance and integrity guarantees the rights of individuals against the government, the powerful, and the many. The Rule of Law provides that tolerance and integrity. It gives respect to both personal rights and property rights. Because these rights are the primary incentive for achievement, they bring to the nations that follow the Rule of Law economic and political success as well.

The Rule of Law is a process consisting of five essential elements:

  1. Fair Access. The justice system is reasonably open and available to all, and does not impose oppressive burdens on the participants;
  2. Fair courts. The courts exhibit tolerance and integrity. They are competent, and efficient. Judges are impartial and independent, randomly assigned, and not subject to political influence or manipulation
  3. Fair Laws. The laws are public, clear and reasonable when applied to human experience;
  4. Fair Administration. The administrative branch, prosecutors, and police, are reasonably fair, competent, and efficient; and
  5. All are subject to the law. Government officials including the President, Supreme Court and the Congress, consent to being subject to the law. The Rule of Law process depends on the constant application of tolerance and integrity through a political system founded on these five necessary elements. Each country implementing the Rule of Law will produce its own legislation, administrative methods and judicial decisions. Each system while based upon the same five elements will be formed to the particular time, culture and circumstance where it is implemented. By fostering and promoting the process which is the Rule of Law, no matter what the place or time, all societies can benefit from its implementation.

Some challenge the Rule of Law as peculiar to the Western world or not suitable to all cultures. Some see the current success of the nations which follow the Rule of Law as chance, good fortune or a mere shifting in the vagaries of history. If the process (the Rule of Law) has inherent value, it should be possible to show a direct relationship between the integrity with which a nation enforces the Rule of Law and the success, economic and otherwise, of that nation. For example, one might predict a correlation between the number of attorneys in a country and that country”s economic standing. The extent of the independence of the judiciary or of individual rights could also be tested to see whether they correlate to economic success.

© Kenneth G. Petrulis

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