2020 WJP Rule of Law Index Shows Sustained Negative Slide Toward Weaker Rule of Law Around the World
WASHINGTON, DC (11 March 2020) – The World Justice Project (WJP) today released the WJP Rule of Law Index® 2020, an annual report based on national surveys of more than 130,000 households and 4,000 legal practitioners and experts around the world.
The WJP Rule of Law Index measures rule of law performance in 128 countries and jurisdictions across eight primary factors: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice. The Index is the world’s leading source for original, independent data on the rule of law.
Cambodia’s overall rule of law score increased by less than 1% in this year’s Index. At 127th place out of 128 countries and jurisdictions worldwide, Cambodia remained in the same position for global rank. Cambodia’s score places it at 15 out of 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region* and 30 out of 30 among lower middle income** countries.
Denmark, Norway, and Finland topped the WJP Rule of Law Index rankings in 2020. Venezuela, RB; Cambodia; and Democratic Republic of the Congo had the lowest overall rule of law scores—the same as in 2019.
More countries declined than improved in overall rule of law performance for a third year in a row, continuing a negative slide toward weakening and stagnating rule of law around the world. The majority of countries showing deteriorating rule of law in the 2020 Index also declined in the previous year, demonstrating a persistent downward trend. This was particularly pronounced in the Index factor measuring Constraints on Government Powers.
The declines were widespread and seen in all corners of the world. In every region, a majority of countries slipped backward or remained unchanged in their overall rule of law performance since the 2019 WJP Rule of Law Index.
Regionally, East Asia and Pacific’s top performer in the Index is New Zealand (7th out of 128 countries globally), followed by Australia and Singapore. The three countries with the lowest scores in the region were the Philippines, Myanmar, and Cambodia (127th out of 128 countries globally).
Countries with the strongest improvement in rule of law were Ethiopia (5.6% increase in score, driven primarily by gains in Constraints on Government Powers and Fundamental Rights) and Malaysia (5.1%, driven primarily by gains in Constraints on Government Powers, Fundamental Rights, and Regulatory Enforcement).
The largest declines in the rule of law were seen in Cameroon (-4.4%, driven primarily by falling scores in Order and Security and Fundamental Rights) and Iran (-4.2%, driven primarily by falling scores in Criminal Justice). Over the last five years, countries experiencing the largest average annual percentage drop in the rule of law were Egypt (-4.6 %); Venezuela, RB (-3.9%); Cambodia (-3.0%); Philippines (- 2.5%); Cameroon (-2.4%); Hungary (-2.1%); and Bosnia and Herzegovina (-2.1%).
The single biggest decline by factor over the past five years was Egypt’s and Poland’s score for Constraints on Government Powers, with an average annual decline of -8.5% and -6.8%, respectively.
“The rule of law is not just a matter for judges or lawyers,” said William H. Neukom, WJP founder and CEO. “It is the bedrock of communities of justice, opportunity, and peace. We are all stakeholders in the rule of law and therefore we all have a role to play in upholding it. The 2020 Index underscores that we have our work cut out for us.”
The complete 2020 report—including country profiles, data visualizations, methodology, and download options—is available here.
WJP Rule of Law Index 2020 performance (1 is best)
CAMBODIA OVERALL GLOBAL RANK: 127/128
CAMBODIA OVERALL REGIONAL RANK*: 15/15
*Countries and jurisdictions measured in the East Asia and Pacific region: Australia; Cambodia; China; Hong Kong SAR, China; Indonesia; Japan; Malaysia; Mongolia; Myanmar; New Zealand; Philippines; Republic of Korea; Singapore; Thailand; Vietnam
**Lower middle income countries and jurisdictions: Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe