What We Do

Leading a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the rule of law for the development of communities of peace, opportunity, and equity.

Our Opportunity

Effective rule of law helps reduce corruption, improve public health, enhance education, lift people from poverty, and protect them from injustices and dangers large and small. Despite this, all over the world, people are denied basic rights to safety, freedom, and dignity because the rule of law is weak or non-existent. The natural environment is degraded when environmental protection laws are ignored. Women suffer abuse when they don't know they are protected by laws or when their access to justice is limited. Families suffer when parents are coerced into paying bribes to get their children admitted to public schools or to get them basic health care. Local and international businesses avoid investing in communities because of the lack of stable rules and regulations and excessive amounts of risk.

Rule of law means better public health, economic development, and political participation. It is the necessary ingredient to all forms of human endeavor, especially in communities of greatest need.

A well-functioning rule of law means:

  • Local business and foreign investment aren't stifled by corruption
  • Governments are held accountable for their actions and citizens are able to express dissent—peacefully
  • Children are sent to school, and not exploited for cheap labor
  • Women and girls are able to protect themselves from violence and discrimination
  • Mothers can vaccinate their children without paying bribes
  • Buildings withstand earthquakes, bridges remain upright, and lives are not put in danger by compromised regulations

Learn more about the meaning and importance of the rule of law.

Our Approach

The work of the World Justice Project is founded on two premises: 1) the rule of law is the foundation of communities of peace, opportunity, and equity, and 2) multidisciplinary collaboration is the most effective way to advance the rule of law. Based on this, the WJP has three mutually reinforcing programs: Research and Scholarship, the WJP Rule of Law Index, and Engagement initiatives.

Research and Scholarship: The WJP’s Research & Scholarship program conducts and supports rigorous research that examines the relationship between the rule of law and various aspects of economic, political, and social development. The program is co-chaired by Robert L. Nelson (Northwestern University, American Bar Foundation) and Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago). The core initiative of the program is the is the Rule of Law Research Consortium (RLRC), a community of leading researchers from a wide variety of fields harnessing diverse methods and techniques to produce research on the rule of law, as well as recommendations on how to strengthen it..

WJP Rule of Law Index: The WJP Rule of Law Index is a quantitative assessment tool that measures how the rule of law is experienced by ordinary people in 99 countries around the globe. It offers a detailed, multidimensional view of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice, and is the most comprehensive index of its kind. To date, over 100,000 citizens and experts have been interviewed in 99 countries. Index findings have been referenced by heads of state, chief justices, business leaders, public officials, and the press, including cites by more than 500 media outlets in nearly 80 countries.

Engagement: The WJP's Engagement efforts convene partners from all work disciplines to build a global network, find common ground, and create practical solutions that advance the rule of law. Initiatives include the World Justice Challenge, the World Justice Forum, regional outreach meetings, single-country sorties, and more.