Rule of Law Knowledge Group

The topic for 2016 was legal identity.

Access to Nationality: Statelessness, identity documents, technology and the law

Tuesday 6th December 2016 from 6 to 8pm

Ashurst LLP Broadwalk House, 5 Appold St, London EC2A 2HA


This year our Rule of Law Knowledge Group focused on Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Our first session introduced the Rule of Law and legal identity as specified in SDG 16.9: “legal identity for all”.

Our second session focused on the connected issue of statelessness and lack of proof of legal identity, and discussed how laws can both lead to statelessness and help to eradicate this phenomenon.

In our third session we addressed the following questions:

  • How can the concept a “legal identity for all” both include and exclude?
  • What are the interconnections between statelessness, discrimination and racism?
  • What issues exist regarding access to national identity documents in African countries?
  • What are the consequences of new (biometric) identification systems?
  • What legal tools are available for people whose citizenship is contested, or who want to secure documentation?

This session involved group discussion to explore how the law can be used to address discrimination in access to nationality and documentation.


Dr Bronwen Manby, Senior Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and independent consultant in the field of human rights, democracy and good governance, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

Carl Soderbergh, Director of Policy and Communications for Minority Rights Group

Simon Cox, Legal Officer for the Open Society Foundations’ Justice Initiative, specialising in migration. (previously: Doughty Street Chambers)

Group coordinator:

Claire Fourel, Senior Associate and International Pro Bono Manager at Ashurst LLP

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Previous Group Events

Statelessness, Sustainable Development and the Law

Thursday 7th September  2016

Following on from the first A4ID Rule of Law knowledge Group which explored the role of inclusive institutions such as the rule of law in enabling sustainable development, and the inclusion of Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, justice and strong institutions”, and sub-goal 16.9 relating to “legal identity for all, including birth registration” in the SDGs, this next session focused on the connected issue of statelessness.

For example, what is the relationship between statelessness and lack of proof of legal identity? How can laws lead to statelessness, or conversely help to eradicate this phenomenon? Indeed, statelessness is a growing area of enquiry, and this session aimed to:

  • provide an introduction to statelessness as a conceptual tool,
  • highlight its connections with sustainable development and human rights, and
  • discuss empirical examples of statelessness from Europe to Asia, which contribute to vulnerability and thus impedes human flourishing.

The session concluded by questioning if, and how, SDG16 can assist with addressing statelessness.

Date: Wednesday, 7 September, 2016
Venue: Ashurst LLP, Broadwalk House, 5 Appold Street, London, EC2A 2HA
Time: 6pm registration for 6.30pm start


Amal de Chickera is a co-director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. He has worked on statelessness and human rights for the last 8 years, doing research, advocacy, training and serving as an expert at a number of UN, NGO and academic forums. One of his current areas of interest is the nexus between statelessness, human rights and the sustainable development agenda.

Chris Nash is the Director and co-founder of the European Network on Statelessness. He has worked in the refugee and migration field for 18 years, initially as an asylum lawyer and then at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, the Refugee Council of Australia, Amnesty International and Asylum Aid. He has written widely on asylum, migration and statelessness policy, and is joint author of the 2011 UNHCR/Asylum Aid report Mapping Statelessness in the United Kingdom.

Jade Glenister is the Legal and Programmes Officer at Equal Rights Trust. Prior to joining the Trust, Jade worked as a solicitor in Western Australia specialising in public law and refugee law. Her work included advising on complex asylum claims and conditions of detention.

Group Coordinator:

Claire Fourel, Senior Associate and International Pro Bono Manager at Ashurst LLP

SDG16: Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

Thursday, 5 May 2016 at 18:30

This year, the A4ID Rule of Law Knowledge Group explored Goal 16 of the SDGs, and how its components can act as a catalyser for social transformation. It focused on the role of the rule of law, justice and accountable and inclusive institutions in the realisation of human flourishing.

Date: Thursday, 5 May, 2016
Venue: Ashurst LLP, Broadwalk House, 5 Appold Street, London, EC2A 2HA
Time: 6pm registration for 6.30pm start


Julinda Beqiraj is an Associate Senior Research Fellow at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, at BIICL. She holds a PhD degree from the School of International Studies, University of Trento (Italy). Julinda’s fields of expertise are international migration, regional human rights’ protection, international economic law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. She has published on topical issues of public international law, including on migrant children’s rights in international law, and has worked extensively on access to justice and rule of law related issues at the Bingham Centre.

Group Coordinator:

Claire Fourel, Senior Associate and International Pro Bono Manager at Ashurst LLP