Today the World Justice Project releases its Rule of Law Index rankings for 2012. The WJP Rule of Law index assesses countries’ performance on the nine areas of: limits on government power, corruption, security, fundamental rights, open government, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, criminal justice, and informal justice. The scores are built from assessments of the general public (1,000 respondents per country) and local legal experts. “The outcome of this exercise is one of the world’s most comprehensive data sets measuring the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law—not in theory but in practice,” says the report.
By relying on real surveys of real citizens, this effort makes an important contribution to deepening our understanding of how the rule of law is experienced (or not experienced) by ordinary citizens around the world. With the growing global consensus that governance matters, I predict this index will play an important role in shaping the goals, targets, and indicators for the post-2015 development agenda.