A HISTORIC TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY

White & Case is collaborating with the Kingdom of Bhutan’s Royal Law Project
to build the country’s legal capacity through a variety of legal education projects,
including its first law library.

At some 7,500 feet (2,286 meters) above sea level, one of the highest law libraries in the world recently opened its doors—thanks in large part to White & Case.

On July 15, 2011, the Kingdom of Bhutan inaugurated the country’s first law library with traditional music, mask-dances and blessings. The library is a resource for lawyers and judges throughout the country and links this small Himalayan nation to international legal research databases—and the global legal community.

White & Case is helping Bhutan improve its legal capacity as it makes a historic, voluntary transition from an absolute monarchy to a democracy. A stable, peaceful country located in a region marked historically by unrest, Bhutan has demonstrated in recent years that it is serious about good governance and the rule of law. Our goal is to help Bhutan develop its legal capacity in line with its own traditions and values, based on global best practices.

In collaboration with the Royal Law Project, we agreed that a good first step would be to provide access to resources that will help Bhutanese lawyers find answers to legal questions by studying how legislatures and courts in England, India and the United States have addressed similar problems.

Ruth Armstrong, White & Case Director of Library and Research, worked with LexisNexis® and Thomson Reuters, who generously donated database licenses and equipment, to assemble a collection of legal and regulatory information. Members of our Global Technology Services team coordinated with local service providers in Bhutan to ensure the technological infrastructure for the library was in place. Ruth conducted a series of interactive training sessions on how to use the library’s legal reference databases. The attendees included 44 of the country’s estimated 200 lawyers, including members of the Supreme Court and Parliament.

In addition, we have provided pro bono legal advice on topics such as foreign direct investment, corporate law and establishing the King’s charitable foundation in a number of countries.

“The rule of law and due process of the law are necessary elements for the health of a vibrant modern democracy.”
Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck

PICTURED LEFT
Dancers lead the procession of dignitaries to the ceremony marking the opening of Bhutan’s first law library in July 2011.