The Rule of Law Monitoring Mechanism

What is RoLMM

By Prof. Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou and Dr. Klearchos A. Kyriakides[1] A new initiative of the School of Law of UCLan Cyprus 9 April 2020

The Rule of Law Monitoring Mechanism (RoLMM) is a new inter-disciplinary initiative of the School of Law of the Cyprus Campus of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan Cyprus).

The formation of RoLMM has been prompted by the global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the decision of the World Health Organization, on 11 March 2020, to declare the existence of a pandemic. Its formation has also been motivated by a growing concern for – and determination to protect – the rule of law, the proper administration of justice, human dignity and fundamental freedoms as well as rights including the right to life and socio-economic rights. These and so many other characteristics of a democratic society that are at risk of being adversely affected amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic or any other crisis of comparable magnitude.

RoLMM has not emerged from a vacuum. It is founded on the expertise of the academics of the School of Law of UCLan Cyprus, their long-standing knowledge transfer activities and their past or ongoing research projects relating to the rule of law or crises of one sort or another. See for example

In the light of the above, the primary purposes of RoLMM are to ask questions, to raise concerns, to highlight issues and to strive to hold public authorities as well as other decision makers to account. To these ends, RoLMM offers a peer-reviewed online platform, which is open to academics, law students, members of the legal profession, other professionals, law enforcement officers, other public servants and all other persons who care about the rule of law. 

The platform will initially operate at the existing open access Law Blog of UCLan Cyprus at http://lawblog.uclancyprus.ac.cy/.  It will simultaneously be relayed via publicly available platforms, websites and/or other specialised social media.

Notwithstanding its academic home within the School of Law of UCLan Cyprus, RoLMM consciously seeks to adopt an inter-disciplinary approach.  In relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, such an inter-disciplinary approach is important in various fields.  The most obvious example is medical law and ethics.  However, other examples include business law and ethics.

With the aim of fulfilling its Mission, RoLMM will commission and publish peer-reviewed blog pieces.  In addition, from time to time, RoLMM will organise online Socratic dialogues, conversations, webinars and other events.

RoLMM intends to operate on a long-term basis and, thus, beyond the period of current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  This is because an array of ongoing as well as emerging threats are endangering the characteristics of a democratic society, including the rule of law, the proper administration of justice, human dignity and fundamental freedoms as well as rights, including the right to life and socio-economic rights. These threats need to be monitored, critically analysed or otherwise addressed both during and beyond the current pandemic.

RoLMM acknowledges that it has drawn inspiration from the analyses of the rule of law provided by the late Lord Bingham of Cornhill,[2] by the pioneering work undertaken by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law in London[3] and by the emphasis given by both the European Union Framework[4] and the Council of Europe to ‘monitoring mechanisms’.[5] RoLMM is likewise mindful of the specific COVID-19 responses, in the field of the rule of law, at the national[6] and supranational levels.[7]

For the avoidance of any doubt, the remit of RoLMM does not extend to the giving of legal advice or to the provision of any other forms of advice.  Equally, RoLMM will not serve as a vehicle to provide publicity, advertising or political endorsements.  It is – and will remain – an academic and, thus, non-party-political platform.


[1] Respectively Professor of European Law and Reform and Head, School of Law, UCLan Cyprus (https://www.uclancyprus.ac.cy/academic/dr-laulhe-shaelou-stephanie/); and Assistant Professor of English Law, Constitutional History and Professional Skills and Deputy Head, School of Law, UCLan Cyprus (https://www.uclancyprus.ac.cy/academic/dr-klearchos-kyriakides/). [2] See, in particular, the Rt. Hon Lord Bingham of Cornhill KG, ‘The Rule of Law’, transcript of a lecture delivered in honour of Sir David Williams at the Centre for Public Law of the University of Cambridge on 16 November 2006, website of the Centre for Public Law, www.cpl.law.cam.ac.uk/sir-david-williams-lectures2006-rule-law/rule-law-text-transcript and www.cpl.law.cam.ac.uk/sir-david-williams-lectures/rt-hon-lord-bingham-cornhill-kg-rule-law (accessed on 3 April 2020). Lord Bingham, ‘The Rule of Law’ (2007) 66(1) Cambridge Law Journal, 67-85 and Tom Bingham, The Rule of Law (London, Allen Lane, Penguin Press, London, 2010). [3] The website of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law is at https://binghamcentre.biicl.org/ [4] Rule of Law Framework, website of the European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/upholding-rule-law/rule-law/rule-law-framework_en (accessed on 3 April 2020). [5] ‘Monitoring mechanisms’, website of the Council of Europe, www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/monitoring-mechanism (accessed on 3 April 2020). [6] Statement by Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden on Emergency Measures, https://www.government.nl/documents/diplomatic-statements/2020/04/01/statement-by-belgium-denmark-finland-france-germany-greece-ireland-italy-luxembourg-the-netherlands-portugal-spain-sweden (accessed on 3 April 2020). [7] European Commission Coronavirus response https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response_en and https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response/european-commissions-action-coronavirus_en (accessed on 3 April 2020); see also Statement by President von der Leyen on emergency measures in Member States, Brussels, 31 March 2020.

The geographical and thematic coverage of RoLMM

With regard to its geographical coverage, RoLMM is primarily concerned with upholding the rule of law in the Republic of Cyprus.  However, in view of the geopolitical location of this sovereign state at the inter-section of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Council of Europe and the European Union, coupled with the background of UCLan Cyprus, RoLMM cannot overlook the impact of developments elsewhere in the European Union, in the United Kingdom or in the wider world.  Indeed, bearing in mind the global reach of certain crises, such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, RoLMM is determined to avoid adopting an insular outlook.

As for its thematic coverage, RoLMM revolves around the operation of the rule of law in the Republic of Cyprus, particularly on the eve, in the midst or in the aftermath of any grave crisis, including the pandemic.  In this context and given its pre-occupation with time of crisis, RoLMM seeks to explore each of the six fundamental questions articulated below. Question 1: Is the rule of law safe or unsafe? Question 2: To what extent are public bodies, private bodies and individual people upholding or undermining the rule of law? Question 3: What is the proper role of judges, lawyers, legal academics and law students?  What is the proper function of each in a democratic society, particularly one that is in the midst of a crisis? In this context, how can citizens be further empowered, particularly in times of crisis, to ensure the sustainability of rights? Question 4: How may lawyers fulfil their ethical, professional, legal and other duties, while simultaneously protecting their physical health, mental health and overall wellbeing? Question 5: How, when and by which means may justice be delivered in response of any injustices allegedly caused by or during a crisis? Question 6: Can any salient lessons be drawn from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and any other past or ongoing crises?

The rule of law: four premises

A word or two is needed on the rule of law, the concept at the heart of RoLMM.  The rule of law is, of course, open to interpretation and, indeed, criticism.  That being said, for the sake of coherence and simplicity, RoLMM rests on four intellectual premises.

The first premise is that ‘the core’ of the rule of law is the one defined by the late Lord Bingham of Cornhill, during his tenure as Senior Law Lord, in his celebrated lecture entitled ‘The Rule of Law’, as delivered on 16 November 2006. According to the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission), an organ of the Council of Europe, the definition provided by Lord Bingham ‘[p]erhaps … covers most appropriately the essential elements of the rule of law.’[8]

How, then, did Lord Bingham define the rule of law?  In his considered view, its ‘core’ is that ‘all persons and authorities within the state, whether public or private, should be bound by and entitled to the benefit of laws publicly and prospectively promulgated and publicly administered in the courts.’[9]

The second premise is that Lord Bingham was right to suggest that the rule of law ‘may be conveniently broken down into a series of sub-rules’. He articulated eight such ‘sub-rules’. These were helpfully summarised as follows on 9 September 2013 by Dominic Grieve QC MP, the then Attorney General of England and Wales:

  1. The law must be accessible, intelligible, clear and predictable.
  2. Questions of legal right and liability should ordinarily be resolved by the exercise of the law and not the exercise of discretion.
  3. Laws should apply equally to all.
  4. Ministers and public officials must exercise the powers conferred in good faith, fairly, for the purposes for which they were conferred – reasonably and without exceeding the limits of such powers.
  5. The law must afford adequate protection of fundamental Human Rights.
  6. The state must provide a way of resolving disputes which the parties cannot themselves resolve.
  7. The adjudicative procedures provided by the state should be fair.
  8. The rule of law requires compliance by the state with its obligations in international as well as national laws.[10]

The third premise is that in a democratic sovereign state, particularly one that belongs to the European Union and is subject to a codified ‘written constitution’, such as the Republic of Cyprus, the eight ‘sub-rules’ identified by Lord Bingham are supplemented by various other concepts.  These include constitutionalism, proportionality, good governance, transparency and, of course, democracy.  Each of these concepts is implicit in the list provided above, but none is expressly spelt out therein.

The fourth premise is that the rule of law lies at the core of four of the key supranational organisations to which Republic of Cyprus belongs: the United Nations; the Commonwealth; the Council of Europe; and the European Union.

Even though the rule of law is not expressly mentioned in the United Nations Charter of 1945,[11] the concept has long been championed by the United Nations – on paper if not always in practice.[12]  Furthermore, the rule of law is expressly mentioned by the Preamble to the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950[13] and by the Preambles as well as by the main bodies of the Commonwealth Charter of 2013[14] and the Treaty on European Union.[15]  Indeed, under Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, the Republic of Cyprus and its fellow members of the European Union affirm that:

The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.


[8] Report on the Rule of Law adopted by the Venice Commission at its 86th plenary session (Venice Commission, Venice, 25-26 March 2011), paragraph 36, website of the Venice Commission, www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=CDL-AD(2011)003rev-e [9] The Rt. Hon Lord Bingham of Cornhill KG, ‘The Rule of Law’, transcript of a lecture delivered in honour of Sir David Williams at the Centre for Public Law of the University of Cambridge on 16 November 2006, website of the Centre for Public Law, www.cpl.law.cam.ac.uk/sir-david-williams-lectures2006-rule-law/rule-law-text-transcript and www.cpl.law.cam.ac.uk/sir-david-williams-lectures/rt-hon-lord-bingham-cornhill-kg-rule-law (accessed on 3 April 2020). [10] The Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP, HM Attorney General, ‘The rule of law and the prosecutor’, transcript of a lecture delivered on 9 September 2013, website of the Attorney General’s Office, www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-rule-of-law-and-the-prosecutor (accessed on 3 April 2020). [11] Charter of the United Nations of 1945, website of the United Nations, www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/un-charter-full-text/ (accessed on 8 April 2020). [12] See, for instance, Report of the Secretary-General on the rule of law and transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict societies (UN Security Council Document S/2004/616, 23 August 2004, website of the UN, www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2004/616 and ‘United Nations and the Rule of Law’, United Nations website, www.un.org/ruleoflaw/un-and-the-rule-of-law/ (accessed on 8 April 2020). [13] Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Rome, 4.XI.1950 as amended by Protocols Nos. 11 and 14 supplemented by Protocols Nos. 1, 4, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 16, website of the Council of Europe, www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf [14] The Commonwealth Charter Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs by Command of Her Majesty, March 2013, Cm 8572, website of the Government of the United Kingdom, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136337/Cm_8572.pdf [15] Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union, website of the European Union, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12012M%2FTXT

Guidelines aimed at potential authors of articles and other contributions

If you wish to submit a blog piece, please ensure it complies with these Guidelines and send it as text to lawblog@uclancyprus.ac.cy

These Guidelines constitute an open call for blog pieces. There is no deadline to submit and no strict word limit; however, draft texts in the region of 1,500 to 2,000 words would be deemed the most appropriate.

In the light of the Mission of RoLMM, as outlined above, blog pieces should focus on topics of societal interest aimed at a wide non-expert audience. Accordingly, academics should avoid unnecessarily legalistic terminology or unduly theoretical concepts.  By the same token, lawyers and other professionals should avoid jargon.

A catchy title should be used.

No lengthy introduction is needed. Nor is there any need for any detailed literature review.  Authors are requested to go straight to the point and address the gist of the matter at hand. From the outset, each author should explain to readers why they should read the blog piece.  The style may be analytical and/or narrative depending on the subject matter. If possible, avoid endnotes and footnotes but use links instead (cmd + k).

The conclusion should summarise the main themes or findings. It is best to conclude with the articulation of some warnings to be borne in mind, lessons to be learned or recommendations.

Each author should provide brief details along the following lines: name, position, affiliation if any, professional status, if any, qualifications and a declaration of any actual or perceived interest.  The provision of a photograph will be welcome.

When submitting any draft text to RoLMM, every author must not only disclose any actual or perceived conflict of interest, but must also adhere to the other generally accepted principles of research ethics and integrity.  These principles are embodied inter alia in the publications of the UK Research Integrity Office, a registered charity dedicated to the promotion of these concepts.  Its publications include [The] Code of Practice for Research: Promoting Good Practice and Preventing Misconduct and [The] Recommended Checklist for Researchers; these are available at the hyperlinks below.

A peer review process will take place within reasonable time.  It will be conducted by academics of the School of Law of UCLan Cyprus and, if necessary, external experts.  Such reviewers reserve the right to engage in editing if and when needed, in consultation with the author.

Blog pieces may be illustrated by images on the strict understanding that the express consent of the copyright holder is obtained in advance, an appropriate acknowledgment is provided and all relevant laws are adhered to.

Prospective authors are welcome to make use of Crown Copyright and Parliamentary Copyright materials from the United Kingdom in line with the relevant Licences. Details regarding the re-use of Crown Copyright materials under the Open Government Licence is available at the two links below.

Details regarding the re-use of Parliamentary Copyright materials under the Open Parliament Licence are available at the two links below.

Cross-posting of blog pieces published by RoLMM is acceptable, subject to proper acknowledgment as to where each text was first published and subject also to the receipt of prior permission from RoLMM.

The UCLan Cyprus Law Blog is dedicated to freedom of expression within the law and, by extension, to academic freedom.  At the same time, the UCLan Cyprus Law Blog is an equal opportunity, non-discriminatory and non-hate speech forum. Content that does not meet its standards will be rejected.

Contacts and further information

To obtain further information or register to receive updates by email, please send an email with your request to lawblog@uclancyprus.ac.cy

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