College of Law to Aid Iraqi Judicial Independence

October 6, 2008 – The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law announced today it has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of State to aid the Iraqi government in establishing an independent judiciary with adequate legislative and constitutional authority.

Under the terms of the Iraqi Judicial Independence Project, the Quinney College of Law will establish the Global Justice Project in Iraq. Experts from the law school and outside advisers will provide Iraqi judicial and political leaders with critical assistance in assessing and developing a constitutional and legal framework; devising a strategy for enacting laws and amendments to the Iraqi constitution; and developing a framework for progress on related legislation, including criminal law and procedure.

“This project hopes to help Iraq and the heroic efforts of its judiciary to create a role model for the rule of law in the Middle East,” said Chibli Mallat, a professor at the Quinney College and specialist on Middle Eastern legal systems and policies. “Iraq is presently a unique ground for birth of the terrible and the sublime. We hope that law will help the country embrace more of the latter. There are unique tests for comparative law in Iraq, not least of which is reconciling Islamic law with the most advanced international human rights standards.”

The Iraqi Judicial Independence Project initially will involve several Utah faculty members, including Mallat, Hiram Chodosh, dean of the S.J. Quinney College and an expert in international mediation; and Wayne McCormack, a constitutional and international law scholar.