Confidence in accountability for U.S. public officials plummeted from 2016 to 2021, according to World Justice Project (WJP) surveys.  Would a high-level official pay a price for pocketing public money? Would a politically connected person be held responsible for a non-violent crime?  The answers increasingly became no among the general public and legal experts.  This year, the United States finally turned a corner on its overall WJP Rule of Law Index score after sharp declines in the preceding five years, but it still has much lost ground to regain.    In recognition of this challenge, the WJP is embarking on a new U.S. campaign to strengthen rule of law and “rebuild trust.” Co-founder and Board Chair William Hubbard announced the effort at a recent rule of law briefing cosponsored by the American Bar Association Cornerstones of Democracy Commission. 

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In recent years equal rights and non-discrimination protections have weakened, putting at-risk groups in danger of further erasure and marginalization. The 2022 WJP Rule of Law Index points to a rise in discrimination during the pandemic, with 70% of countries and jurisdictions having declined in equal treatment and absence of discrimination. Vulnerable groups already exposed to systemic inequality—such as the LGBTQI+ community, children with disabilities, women, and ethnic and racial minorities—were further marginalized during the crisis, and continue to be left out of solutions to “build back better.” At the World Justice Forum 2022, equal rights leaders, activists, and academics came together to discuss the increasing challenges these groups face, as well as promising solutions to address them.

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Every year, the WJP Rule of Law Index takes a detailed look at adherence to rule of law principles around the world. This year’s Index covers 140 countries and jurisdictions and contains data on eight factors that make up the rule of law, including fundamental rights, absence of corruption, and criminal justice.   Insights from the 2022 WJP Rule of Law Index show that adherence to rule of law fell in 61% of countries this year. Globally, this means that 4.4 billion people live in countries where rule of law has declined over the past year.   Rule of law impacts our rights, our safety, our well-being, and our access to justice. The WJP Rule of Law Index provides original data annually on people’s experiences with and perceptions of rule of law in 140 countries and jurisdictions around the world, making the Index a valuable resource for policymakers, business leaders, and advocates. 

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WASHINGTON (Oct. 26, 2022) – For the fifth year in a row, the rule of law has declined globally, according to the 2022 World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index®. The World Justice Project’s analysis of in-depth survey data in 140 countries and jurisdictions shows that adherence to the rule of law fell in 61% of countries this year.

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The rule of law isn’t just relevant to lawyers and judges—it affects people’s rights, access to justice, and safety in their neighborhoods; it affects whether governments are open and accountable; and it affects whether corruption is allowed to take root, and whether people can thrive.   The WJP Rule of Law Index, published annually, gives insights into people’s experiences with and perceptions of rule of law in 140 countries and jurisdictions around the world.  

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The World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index is the world's leading source for original rule of law data. WJP has released the Index annually since 2009, and this year's edition will expand to cover 140 countries and jurisdictions around the world.

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Corruption is on the rise globally, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this trend and demonstrated its urgency. The 2021 WJP Rule of Law Index shows that 66% of the 139 countries covered by the Index declined in absence of corruption in 2021 and 58% have declined over the last six years. Meanwhile, Transparency International’s most recent Corruption Perceptions Index states that 131 out of 180 countries studied have made “no significant progress against corruption in the past decade.”  To address this mounting challenge, The World Justice Forum 2022 convened anti-corruption experts from around the world in The Hague and online to discuss the root causes of corruption, its existential threat to the rule of law, and the methods that prove most effective in combating it.

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On September 4, Chile rejected the adoption of a new constitution, that would, among other provisions, enshrine gender parity at the national level.   World Justice Challenge 2022 honoree Fundación Multitudes was deeply involved in the lead up to the vote, hosting a series of conversations with women candidates to the Constitutional Convention, feminist activists, and others in 2020 and 2021. It was through these workshops that they recognized that disinformation and online gender-based violence were a barrier that discouraged women from pursuing a political career or even participating in the political arena as advocates and citizens.   WJP recently talked to Paulina Ibarra, Executive Director of Fundación Multitudes, to learn more about their work in Chile, and how, in light of the recent referendum results, they are looking to the future.  

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Three months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the World Justice Project sat down with Dariia Marchak, Chief Operating Officer of SE Prozorro.Sale, a World Justice Challenge finalist in the Anti-Corruption and Open Government Category.   SE Prozorro.Sale is a Ukrainian state enterprise that has transformed the country’s privatization process through an electronic auction platform that facilitates transparent sales of government assets to private companies. Since the war began, the company has continued its work, running auctions to raise money for Ukraine’s defense and humanitarian aid.   Marchak shared insights into SE Prozorro.Sale’s work as an anti-corruption platform and how months after the start of the war, Ukrainians are focused not just on resistance, but on building a better, stronger democracy.  

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an exceptional lawyer, judge, and trailblazing advocate for women’s rights, in addition to being an honorary chair of the World Justice Project, where she has served as an inspiration for building the rule of law movement.   In June, the World Justice Project honored her legacy at the 2022 World Justice Forum, with the first Ruth Bader Ginsburg Legacy Keynote Conversation. The featured speaker was Sherrilyn Ifill, a prominent American civil rights lawyer and inspirational advocate who is president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  Before a wide-ranging conversation with CIVICUS Secretary General Lysa John, Ifill delivered the keynote remarks below. 

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