About Us

We educate

The Rule of Law Education Centre (ROLE) is the only independent and non-political organisation in Australia educating students and the community about the importance of our laws and democracy derived from the Magna Carta, and important checks and balances we have for those in power. 

We believe that an understanding of the rule of law, human rights and democracy does not happen by osmosis. It must be taught clearly and explicitly in schools and universities, with case studies and examples to bring these principles to life.  We focus on teaching students to not only understand and obey laws, but to constructively engage with the law and government and to know how to challenge them as needed by using appropriate mechanisms and institutions. 

Our resources are widely used in classrooms throughout Australia. In 2023, our website had over 2 million page views from students, teachers and the Australian community and our videos were watched over 80,000 times.

Rule of Law Education Centre is an independent, non-partisan, non-political organisation so we are able to focus on the rule of law, which is above politics. Our resources and commentary promote good governance in Australia by the rule of law- and not one side of politics. As we do not rely on government funding, we provide impartial and balanced commentary about the state of our democracy and the rule of law in Australia without fear of offending those in power and threatening our funding.  

This was most evident in 2023 with the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Teachers and schools were provided with resources that only supported the YES vote.  Rule of Law Education Centre was one of the sole organisations that created resources for students and the community to understand what the Constitution was, why a referendum was needed, how the proposed change would fit into the Constitution and both sides of the Voice argument from a legal and non-emotional perspective.   

Not only do we create resources, we facilitate the Law Day Out Court excursion for NSW students wishing to visit the Sydney Courts. In 2023, we facilitated 2,860 students and over 120 schools to the Downing Centre.

We represent Australians

We are an independent, non-partisan, non political organisation.  The rule of law is above politics. Our resources and commentary promote good governance in Australia by the rule of law- and not one side of politics.

We represent ordinary, law abiding Australians who wish to uphold the democratic freedoms and protections that the Rule of Law provides.  We are supported by over 2,300 members, 71% of which are teachers around Australia. 

You can join us by fostering and protecting the Rule of Law in Australia by becoming a member of our sister organisation, the Rule of Law Institute of Australia.

Whatever your politics, left or right, labor, liberals or greens, membership is open to everyone.

Membership is free.  It does not impose any financial obligations. However, it does not carry the right to vote nor the right to receive notice of meeting of the Centre. It is intended to be a way of sharing our passion and a simple means of communication between us.  The names of members are not disclosed. Members may be invited from time to time to join in making submissions to Government, working out programs for schools and commenting on the work of the Centre.

Become a member by clicking here.


The Centre is an independent, non-partisan, non political Centre formed to uphold the Rule of Law in Australia.

We receive no funding from Government.

Donations given to the Centre by members are spent on creating resources and programs to educate school students about the Rule of Law.  Less than 5% of donations are spent on overheads.

The Centre relies upon generous donations in time and money from individuals and organisations who seek to foster and protect the Rule of Law in Australia. 

The Rule of Law Education Centre is a gift deductible recipient so donations are tax deductible and can be made by clicking here.

Why we were established

Robin Speed OAM

Robin Speed OAM


The Rule of Law Education Centre, together with the Rule of Law Institute of Australia work to promote and uphold the rule of law. In the early days of the Rule of Law Institute of Australia, Peter Goldsmith former Attorney General of the UK government of Tony Blair in 2010 described the Institute as  “watchdogs of liberty in a mature and responsible way…”  In the newspaper article at the time it said: “The Rule of Law Institute of Australia takes a principle-based approach in its examination of the law and administration of the laws which impinge on fundamental rights and liberties.”   

In 2010, as is today, the Rule of Law Institute focuses on rule of law principles not politics.  It highlight when there is government overreach, excess of bureaucrats and breaches of the rule of law.   In 2010, it focused on government overreach by the Australian Crime Commission, ATO and ASIC. Since then it has highlighted many breaches to the rule of law in Australia. It has continued to be concerned about government overreach and the lack of transparency and accountability of government departments.  In 2015, the Rule of Law Education Centre was established to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and to provide education regarding the Magna Carta and the underlying principles that protect us in Australia today.

The contribution that founder, Robin Speed OAM has made to the Rule of Law in Australia is celebrated at the Rule of Law: Robin Speed Memorial Address. The lecture is held around 15 June each year to coincide with the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215.  The 2024 Lecture was given by Mr Walter Sofronoff KC and the inaugural 2023 Lecture was given by Mr Paul Kelly.

Board of the Rule of Law Education Centre

Margaret Cunneen SC

Margaret Cunneen SC


Barrister at Law and former Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor

Malcolm Stewart

Malcolm Stewart

Senior Vice President

Managing Director, Speed and Stracey Lawyers

Chris Merritt

Chris Merritt

Vice President

Weekly columist for the Australian newspaper

Sally Layson

Sally Layson


CEO of Rule of Law Education Centre

Governing Committee

The Governing Committee of the Rule of Law Education Centre comprises:

David Lowy AM

Hugh Morgan AC

Bruce McWilliam

Emeritus Professor Geoffrey de Q Walker

Our supporters

The work of the Rule of Law Education Centre and its sister organisation, the Rule of Law Institute of Australia are supported by over 2,600 members and donors.

Our work is supported by many generous individuals and organisations who value the protection of the rule of law in Australia.  We are grateful for the support of the New South Wales District Court, New South Wales Local Court and New South Wales Sheriffs in assisting the smooth operation of our Law Day Out Court Excursions. In particular, we thank the Volunteer Judicial Officers who give their time to speak to students. We also thank the UTS Brennan Justice Project Volunteers who meet with students and help guide school groups around the Downing Centre.

Many of Australia’s teachers are supported by specialist teacher associations who provide teacher development and opportunities for teachers to deepen their subject matter expertise.  These associations are run mostly by volunteer teachers.  We thank those teachers and Associations for supporting our work and for assisting teachers in their valuable work. In particular we thank the NSW Legal Studies Association, Economic and Business Educators Association and the Victorian Commercial Teachers Association.

Annual Reports

The Centre aims to educate and inform school students about how the Magna Carta and subsequent rule of law principles have impacted and contributed to the history, culture and legal processes of Australia and to strengthen the rule of law and human rights through education.

The Centre employs experienced teachers, lawyers and law students to create curriculum linked resources that encourage students and teachers to understand and engage with the rule of law through current events and issues. 91% of our total expenses relate to staffing. 

Our senior team includes Sally Layson as CEO, Chris Merritt as Legal Commentator and Justine Hanks as Education Manager. 

We focus on explicit teaching of civics concepts such as the qualities of good laws, qualities of good judicial process including the elements of a fair trial, judicial independence and equality before the law, elements/threats/safeguards of democracy. Only with explicit teaching and current examples can students understand their role in democracy and their role in questioning and understanding the law and holding those in power to account. 

ROLE works alongside other organisations supporting teachers and schools including Legal Studies Association of NSW, Economic and Business Educators in NSW and Nationally, Victorian Commericial Teachers Association, Business Educators Association Queensland, Sydney Downing Centre (including Local and District Courts), UTS Brennan Justice Program, NSW Parliament Education and the Australian Human Rights Commission. 

“The Rule of Law Education Centre has become the education centre for school students on the Rule of Law. This is primarily carried out by conducting the Law Day Outs and providing teaching material to teachers.

It is non – political, neither left nor right and unique in today’s environment
Comments are made on political matters which adversely affect the rule of law such as the new Federal ICAC Act, proposed defamation changes, consent in rape cases, bail laws, important High and other court cases.” – Robin Speed OAM, Founder

The Annual Reports highlights the work of the Rule of Law Institute of Australia together with the Rule of Law Education Centre in protecting our freedoms through education and public commentary. 

About the Rule of Law

At its most basic level, the Rule of Law is the concept that both the government and citizens know the law and obey it.  

Democracy and our freedoms and rights are protected by the Rule of Law.

To help students understand the Rule of Law we have developed the Rule of Law Wheel.  The Rule of Law means that the LAW is the supreme.  All people are ruled by just laws and not the arbitrary decrees of a ruler. If the law is supreme, then those in power (whether they be politicians, police, judges or any person) must follow the laws and live according to them. At the centre of the Rule of Law there must be equality under the law where no one is above (or below) the law. If you have laws that are followed by everyone, then they need to be applied and enforced equally and fairly. To do this, you need supporting principles, concepts and structures which we have as the spokes of the wheel; presumption of innocence, independent judiciary, model litigants, fair and prompt trials etc.

Where there is no rule of law, arbitrary rule can take over in the form of authoritarianism or anarchy. Important checks and balances are notably absent under these conditions encouraging corruption and violence, resulting in dangerous and unpredictable societies and the erosion of human rights.


The documents below set out how Rule of Law Education Centre collects and uses information, manages education programs and processes payments on this website and through our online education program booking form.

Privacy Policy           Terms of Service

Rule of Law Education Centre Incorporated ABN 77 838 378 807.

Trading Address: 131 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: +61 02 8076 8221

Contact us if you require further information.

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