Improving the Effectiveness of International Lawyers in Rule of Law and Transitional Justice Projects

25 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2016

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Date Written: February 2015


Improving personal effectiveness has been a popular subject for many decades in the business world and in the context of development work. However, in transitional justice and rule of law, effectiveness has only relatively recently been a topic of interest, as researchers investigate reasons why international legal interventions succeed and why they fail. Successful transitional justice or rule of law interventions depend on positive interactions and strong relationships - yet few organisations provide guidance on how such interpersonal relations in international settings can be optimised. It is at the individual level where lawyers can make an immediate difference to the project, and It is argued that the concept of intercultural effectiveness is particularly helpful for transitional justice and rule of law projects. The paper discusses how intercultural effectiveness might be measured, drawing heavily on Canada’s Centre for Intercultural Learning and their seminal paper A Profile of the Interculturally Effective Person. Environmental and organisational issues are examined, before looking at the barriers to intercultural effectiveness at the individual level for international lawyers. The main part of this paper then focuses on the specific knowledge, skills and values through which an international lawyer may be able to optimise their own intercultural effectiveness. The paper finally discusses how institutions hiring international lawyers can take concrete practical steps to improve the success of interventions, by helping their staff and consultants to become more interculturally effective.

Keywords: socio-legal studies, intercultural effectiveness, rule of law, transitional justice

Suggested Citation

Batesmith, Alex, Improving the Effectiveness of International Lawyers in Rule of Law and Transitional Justice Projects (February 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Alex Batesmith (Contact Author)

University of Liverpool ( email )

Chatham Street
Liverpool, L69 7ZA
United Kingdom

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