U.K. secretary of state for justice: The rules-based order is under attack

February 2, 2024

Alex Chalk warns that rising authoritarianism around the globe is causing geopolitical instability and threatens to undermine the rule of law

Key Takeaways

Alex Chalk, the U.K. Secretary of State for Justice, issued a stark warning during a recent address at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg Center: The rule of law—the idea that nations are bound by common rules and principles that govern the way we interact with one another—is threatened by rising authoritarianism.

The “global post-war consensus, which we assumed was unshakable, now need shoring up,” he said. “But rather than letting complacency reign, we must reinforce the reasonable foundations on which it was built.”

Chalk offered three “fronts” on which the rule of law is being challenged and five necessary reforms to ensure rules-based order remains in place.

Challenges to the Rule of Law

Reforms to Bolster the Rules-Based Order

Chalk called on the U.S., the U.K., G7 nations, and NATO nations to act quickly to shore up the rule of law.

“It is incumbent on all of us … to show that the rules-based order works, and it is worth upholding,” he said. “Because while others cause chaos, as nations who believe in the rule of law, it is our legal systems that are the engine room for prosperity across the globe, supporting trade the world over.”

He laid out five steps countries can take to demonstrate the strength of the rules-based order: