Securing Legality is a book project led by Liora Lazarus and will be published by Hart Publishing. The book project explores understandings of the rule law in international practice. It traces in careful detail how the concept has shifted over the past thirty years from a concept embodying the limitation of the coercive state, to one integral to the maintenance and promotion of law, order and security. It examines the normative implications of this shift, exploring a range of emerging theoretical contributions which both critique and support this reconstitution of the rule of law. Importantly, the book highlights the dissonance between the liberal legalistic rule of law tradition and the working conceptual understandings of rule of law actors on the ground. Equally, it warns those theorists promoting a security enhancing conception of the rule of law against the risk of securitisation, where the rule of law becomes tied to a thin conception of security focused on the protection of bare life. Ultimately, the book promotes an account of the rule of law which embraces its inherent ambiguity as both liberty regarding and security enhancing. At the core of this account, however, is a thick conception of security – including legal security - which is good not just for security’s sake but for the social arrangements which flow from its pursuit.
This lecture is based on ongoing work towards the completion of my book Securing Legality. It demonstrates a paradigmatic shift towards the securitization of the rule of law in international practice. It showcases a comprehensive analysis of documentation referring to the rule of law within both international agencies and domestic government departments. It also refers to interviews conducted with actors who are responsible for rule of law work within these agencies. These interviews explore and test the analysis of the primary sources produced by their agencies. At the end of the lecture I address the theoretical concerns raised by this move towards a securitized conception of the rule of law, and some scholarly responses in this field.