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The World Justice Project
""World Justice Project 2014 Logo.png
Founded 2006
Founder "William H. Neukom
Type 501(c)(3) (Non-Profit)
  • Washington, D.C., and Seattle, WA, USA
Area served
"William C. Hubbard
William H. Neukom
Website World Justice Project
Rule of Law Index

The World Justice Project (WJP) is an American independent, multidisciplinary organization with the stated mission of "working to advance the "rule of law around the world".[1]

The WJP works through three programs — Research and Scholarship, the WJP Rule of Law Index, and Engagement. WJP seeks to increase public awareness about the foundational importance of the rule of law, stimulate government reforms, and develop practical programs at the community level.

It was founded by "William H. Neukom in 2006 as a presidential initiative of the "American Bar Association and with the support of 21 partners.[2] The World Justice Project became an independent "501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2009. Its offices are located in Washington, D.C., and Seattle, Washington, USA.[3]


WJP definition of rule of law[edit]

The World Justice Project defines the rule of law system as one in which the following four universal principles are upheld:

  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, efficient, and fair.
  4. Justice is delivered by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.[4]

Research and scholarship[edit]

The World Justice Project supports research that examines the contributions of the rule of law to aspects of economic, political, and social development. The scholarship program is pursuing a research agenda studying the effectiveness of the rule of law in domains of social life, the inter-dependencies among the institutional components of the rule of law, and the causal mechanisms by which the rule of law affects economic and political life.[5]

WJP Rule of Law Index[edit]

Countries by adherence to the Rule of Law according to the 2017–18 World Justice Project report

The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index is an quantitative assessment tool designed to offer a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. The Index provides data on eight dimensions of the rule of law: limited government powers; absence of corruption; order and security; fundamental rights; open government; regulatory enforcement; civil justice; and criminal justice. These factors are further disaggregated into forty-four indicators. Together, they provide a comprehensive picture of rule of law compliance.[6] The index is typically published annually.[7]

The Index rankings and scores are built from over 400 variables drawn from two new data sources: (i) a general population poll (GPP), designed by the WJP and conducted by leading local polling companies using a probability sample of 1,000 respondents in the three largest cities of each country; and (ii) a qualified respondents’ questionnaire (QRQ) completed by in-country experts in civil and commercial law, criminal law, labor law, and public health. To date, over 97,000 people and 2,500 experts have been interviewed in 99 countries and jurisdictions.[8] Adherence to the rule of law is assessed using 47 indicators organized around eight themes: constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice. In addition to country scores and rankings, the Index also includes key global findings as well as an analysis of regional strengths, rule of law challenges, best and worst performers, and trends to watch.[9]

WJP Rule of Law Index 2017–18[edit]

The World Justice Project's most recent index offers a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which 113 countries and jurisdictions around the world adhere to the rule of law. The list below shows the top 30 countries/territories and the full rankings are available for download on the WJP website.

  1.  "Denmark
  2.  "Norway
  3.  "Finland
  4.  "Sweden
  5.  "Netherlands
  6.  "Germany
  7.  "New Zealand
  8.  "Austria
  9.  "Canada
  10.  "Australia
  11.  "United Kingdom
  12.  "Estonia
  13.  "Singapore
  14.  "Japan
  15.  "Belgium
  16.  "Hong Kong
  17.  "Czech Republic
  18.  "France
  19.  "United States
  20.  "South Korea
  21.  "Portugal
  22.  "Uruguay
  23.  "Spain
  24.  "Costa Rica
  25.  "Poland
  26.  "Slovenia
  27.  "Chile
  28.  "Saint Kitts and Nevis
  29.  "Romania
  30.  "Barbados

In its analysis, countries are typically grouped with those that are geographically and economically similar, so "Somalia isn't compared to Sweden".["clarification needed] According to the analysis, Scandinavia is home to the most successful "rule of law" countries. While the United States scores well on limiting civil conflict, protecting the right to petition the government and freedom of speech, it does not do well on measures of its criminal justice system.[10]

WJP Rule of Law Index 2016[edit]

The list below shows the top 30 countries/territories in the 2016 report.[11]

  1.  "Denmark
  2.  "Norway
  3.  "Finland
  4.  "Sweden
  5.  "Netherlands
  6.  "Germany
  7.  "Austria
  8.  "New Zealand
  9.  "Singapore
  10.  "United Kingdom
  11.  "Australia
  12.  "Canada
  13.  "Belgium
  14.  "Estonia
  15.  "Japan
  16.  "Hong Kong
  17.  "Czech Republic
  18.  "United States
  19.  "South Korea
  20.  "Uruguay
  21.  "France
  22.  "Poland
  23.  "Portugal
  24.  "Spain
  25.  "Costa Rica
  26.  "Chile
  27.  "Slovenia
  28.  "Barbados
  29.  "Antigua and Barbuda
  30.  "Saint Kitts and Nevis


Since its founding in 2006, the WJP has helped give people in countries around the world greater understanding of the rule of law and with it, greater opportunities in nearly every part of their lives – from education, to health care, to property rights to fair and peaceful resolution of disputes. The WJP’s Engagement initiatives strive to make rule of law advancement as fundamental to the thinking and work of other professionals as it is to lawyers and judges.

World Justice Challenge[edit]

The World Justice Challenge is an open competition designed to incubate practical, on-the-ground programs that advance the rule of law.[12] Selected programs will be supported by:

World Justice Forum[edit]

The "World Justice Forum is the world’s largest global multidisciplinary platform dedicated to advancing the rule of law. It is a global gathering at which prominent leaders from all parts of the world and a variety of disciplines come together to articulate how the rule of law affects their disciplines and regions and to develop collaborative actions to strengthen the rule of law.[13]

Since 2007, the WJP has held three World Justice Forums. The inaugural World Justice Forum was held in "Vienna, "Austria, on July 2–5, 2008. The World Justice Forum II took place on November 11–14, 2009, also in Vienna, Austria. The World Justice Forum III was held on June 20–23, 2011, in "Barcelona, "Spain. The World Justice Forum IV took place on July 8–11, 2013, in "The Hague, "Netherlands.[13]

Country-level workshops[edit]

The World Justice Project convened a small taskforce of Tunisian leaders from business, government and civil society in Tunis, Tunisia, on May 28, 2012, to assess rule of law opportunities and challenges facing Tunisia during the ongoing reform process. The WJP worked closely with the "World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), the Arab Center for the Rule of Law and Integrity (ACRLI), and the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL) in the planning and execution of the Tunisia workshop. It produced a detailed report on the rule of law situation in Tunisia based on data from its Rule of Law Index.[14] The WJP is also considering organizing additional workshops in the future for countries undergoing transition.[13]

U.S. multidisciplinary workshops[edit]

The WJP supports multidisciplinary workshops aimed at strengthening the rule of law in the United States. State and local bar associations, law schools and other local leaders are sponsoring state-level multidisciplinary outreach meetings to form multidisciplinary partnerships to strengthen the rule of law at the state and community levels. Participants at these meetings have included business and community leaders, educators, health care professionals, judges, lawyers, government officials, and religious leaders.[13]


Honorary Chairs[edit]

The World Justice Project has the support of individuals representing a range of disciplines around the world. The Honorary Chairs of the World Justice Project are:

Board of Directors[edit]

The World Justice Project's Board of Directors includes:

The World Justice Project has the following Board Officers:


External links[edit]

Rule of Law Index[edit]


Edited Volumes:
Journal Articles:
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