HSE University Anti-Corruption Portal
Rule of Law Index 2020

The WJP Rule of Law Index ranks countries in accordance with their progress in creating the environment based on the rule of law. The features of this environment are just laws protecting the rights of citizens, accountability of public bodies and transparency of their activities and accessible and impartial dispute resolution.  

The WJP researches draw the Rule of Law Index scores and rankings of various jurisdictions from household surveys and legal practitioner and expert surveys worldwide. A detailed set of questions is available here.

The framework of the Index is comprised of eight composite factors:

  • constraints on government powers;
  • absence of corruption;
  • open government;
  • fundamental rights;
  • order and security;
  • regulatory enforcement;
  • civil justice;
  • criminal justice.

Each of the abovementioned factors is further disaggregated into sub-factors. For instance, the “absence of corruption” factor is measured on the basis of presence/absence of the three forms of corruption (bribery, use of public office for private gain, misappropriation of public funds) in:

  1. the executive branch;
  2. the judicial branch;
  3. the police and the military;
  4. the legislative branch.

Each sub-factor is measured using simple averages of individual answers to the respective set of questions. Then this data serves for calculating the score for each factor.

Proceeding from the scores for each factor, an overall score of a country is calculated. It ranges from 0 to 1, with 1 indicating the strongest and 0 the weakest adherence to the rule of law.

The WJP Rule of Law Index 2020 presents a portrait of the rule of law in 128 countries. The researchers estimate that the results show a deterioration in the rule of law almost in all reviewed jurisdictions. The WJP believes that this downward trend, registered for a third year in a row, means that the rule of law is weakening around the world. This is particularly pronounced in the “measuring constraints on government powers” factor that evaluates national means, both constitutional and institutional, by which the powers of the government and its officials are limited and held accountable under the law.

However, compared to the results of the 2019 Index, no drastic changes are registered: most countries demonstrate only a marginal decline or no change in their final score.

According to the 2020 ranking, the countries like Denmark, Norway and Finland are leading in the rule of law: they occupy the first tree lines of the Rule of Law Index, meanwhile Venezuela, Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of Congo show the poorest results and are listed in the bottom of the ranking.

The most notable decline is registered in the countries like Brazil (-0,2), France
(-0,1), China (-0,1), Bosnia and Herzegovina (-0,1), Albania (-0,1), Greece (-0,1), Iran (-0,1), Mexico (-0,1) and Romania (-0,1). Other countries, including Malaysia (+0.3), Afghanistan (+0.2), El Salvador (+0.2), Uzbekistan (+0.1), Slovenia (+0.1), South Africa (+0.1) and Spain (+0.1), have, on the contrary, seen their score improved.

The overall score of the Russian Federation remained unchanged (0,47), however it lost four positions in the overall ranking and is ranked 94th (90th in 2019). Under the “absence of corruption” factor Russia is ranked 77th (68th in 2019). In the regional ranking for Eastern Europe and Central Asia which includes 14 countries Russia occupies the last but one place (between Uzbekistan and Turkey). Georgia is ranked the first in the region (42nd in the overall ranking).

Corruption measurement
Civil society

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