The World Justice Project (WJP) earlier this month published its Rule of Law Index (The Index) for 2022. The index is generated from surveys of more than 150,000 households and 3,600 legal practitioners and experts across 140 countries to determine how the Rule of Law is experienced and perceived around the world.
The Index essentially measures the overall robustness of Rule of Law in each country and in 2022 Ireland came 10th overall out of the 140 countries surveyed. More impressively Ireland came 1st in the world in the Order and Security section of the survey.
The Index is compiled from the individual results achieved by each country under eight different headings being:-
- Constraints on Government Powers
- Absence of Corruption
- Open Government
- Fundamental Rights
- Order & Security
- Regulatory Enforcement
- Civil Justice
- Criminal Justice
In coming 10th overall, Ireland was behind the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand but was ahead of the U.K. (15th), France (21st) and the U.S. (26th).
Ireland ranking 1st in Order and Security was particularly impressive. The WJP Index defines this part of the survey as measuring “….how well a society ensures the security of persons and property. Security is one of the defining aspects of any Rule of Law Society and is a fundamental function of the State. It is also a pre-condition for the realisation of the rights and freedoms that the Rule of Law seeks to advance”. It measures as sub issues the extent to which crime is effectively controlled, the extent to which civil conflict is effectively managed as well as the propensity for people to resort to violence to redress personal grievances. Luxembourg, Singapore, Denmark and Norway completed the top 5 for Order and Security.
Internationally there are worrying trends in the Index including that since 2015 the areas of Rule of Law that have declined most widely are freedom of opinion and expression which are down on 81% of countries since that time as well as freedom of assembly and association which are down in 85% of countries since that time. The Index has been published since 2009 and is subject to rigorous methodology and is used by governments, multilateral organisations, donors, the private sector and civil society organisations around the world to assess and address gaps in the Rule of Law. In total it measures 44 Rule of Law indicators.
About the World Justice Project:
The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to create knowledge, build awareness, and stimulate action to advance the rule of law worldwide. Founded by William H. Neukom in 2006 as a presidential initiative of the American Bar Association (ABA), and with the initial support of 21 other strategic partners, the World Justice Project transitioned into an independent non-profit organization in 2009. Its offices are located in Washington DC, Seattle, Singapore, and Mexico City.
RDJ Partner, Ronan Geary, has been a Contributing Expert to the WJP Rule of Law Index for the last two years, including the 2022 edition.