Huge infrastructure spending needs custom-made justice support

Huge infrastructure spending needs custom-made justice support 09 May 2012

The coming two decades will see massive investments in infrastructure projects all over the world; at a scale never seen before.  

Big infrastructure projects really don’t fit into the traditional parameters for which national legal systems were built. Firstly, they almost always have transnational dimensions. A second aspect is that they are by definition long-term. They require huge financial investments and a lot of work, and they stay, even after they have gone. Thirdly, these projects involve many stakeholders with many conflicting interests and power bases. They are also very dispute-prone. It’s built into them. A fifth issue is the fact that these projects cannot have, also almost by definition, one-size-fits all approaches. The combination of interests, geographical location, stakeholders, timeframe, and other things will always differ. Finally, complying with the law is no longer enough for these projects. The ‘social licence to operate’ is the single most success-defining factor. So these infrastructure projects need a custom made justice infrastructure around them. There’s a lot of room for justice innovation here.

Read Sam Muller's blog on 'Infrastructure justice'

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