Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rule of Law Index from the World Justice Project

The World Justice Project (WJP) is an international organization whose mission is “to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the rule of law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity.” Its sponsoring organizations include bar associations, associations of educators, human rights groups, chambers of commerce, and public health associations around the world.

The Rule of Law Index is a new tool that measures over 100 variables about the rule of law as portrayed in practice and as it exists “in the books.” As described at the WJP website, these factors are drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments summarized in the following four statements, which constitute the WJP's definition of the rule of law:

  1. The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law.
  2. The laws are clear, publicized, stable and fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property.
  3. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered and enforced is accessible, fair and efficient.
  4. Access to justice is provided by competent, independent, and ethical adjudicators, attorneys or representatives and judicial officers who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

Version 1.0 of the Index has been field tested in six countries so far. There is now a Version 2.0 and it is anticipated that the Index will be administered in 100 countries in 3 years. In each country, a Rule of Law Index report will detail the findings.

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