Five years ago, I founded Advocates for the Rule of Law with a small group of like-minded lawyers. We were concerned with what we perceived to be a growing disregard for the rule of law, and a move toward what some – including most notably, Justice Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada – have called the “rule of justice.” Our legislators were promulgating vague statutes; unelected and unaccountable administrators were acting outside their statutory mandate without recourse, and some judges were interpreting laws based on their own policy preferences rather than the ordinary meaning of the words. We founded ARL to help reverse these trends and to affirm loudly and publicly the foundational value of the rule of law to a free society.
Our website went live five years ago this month. Since then, we have published dozens of articles from numerous different writers. The topics have varied, as have the philosophical beliefs and political perspectives of the authors. But what they have shared is a common purpose: to educate the public about rule of law issues and to hold state actors to account when the rule of law is trampled upon.
In the last two years, ARL has also begun intervening at the Supreme Court of Canada. We have now intervened in three separate cases and have been expertly represented by Adam Goldenberg, Brandon Kain and many other talented counsel at McCarthy Tétrault.
Most recently, Advocates for the Rule of Law was granted charitable status. This will enable us to expand our ability to educate and advocate these important principles, from website articles, to court interventions, to CLEs and more. We plan to work closely with our sister organization, the Runnymede Society. Thank you to our pro bono counsel at Osler, Brett Anderson and Jennifer Cao for their hard work first in incorporating ARL back in 2017 and then paving the way for charitable status this year.
The same issues that troubled us when ARL was founded remain apparent five years later. But there are early indications of change, and we will continue to promote the rule of law earnestly for the next five years and beyond. The rule of law may not be sufficient for a free and just society, but it is absolutely necessary. Those who seek their conception of justice at the expense of a predictable and stable legal order will end up with neither justice nor law. It is that eventuality that we have guarded against and will continue to do so going forward.