On 31 January 2018 the World Justice Project (WJP) released its 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index which showed that Australia had risen one position for overall rule of law performance (from 11th position in the 2016 WJP Rule of Law Index) to rank 10th out of 113 countries in the 2017-2018 edition of the WJP Rule of Law Index.
The WJP is described as an "...independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide". The WJP takes the view that:
The WJP was founded by William H. Neukom in 2006 as a presidential initiative of the American Bar Association. With the initial support of 21 other strategic partners, the WJP became an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2009. It is located in Washington DC, and in Seattle WA, in the USA.
WJP describe the Rule of Law Index as a measure of how the rule of law is "experienced and perceived by the general public across the globe". WJP claim the Index is "the world’s leading source for original, independent data on the rule of law".
The Index is created by measuring "rule of law adherence" in 113 countries worldwide, based on examination of more than 110,000 household and 3,000 expert surveys. Using such primary data, the Index measures countries’ rule of law performance using 44 indicators across eight primary rule of law factors which are:
According to the Index the top three overall performers in the 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index were:
The bottom overall performers in the 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index were:
As already indicated Australia rose one position for overall rule of law performance to 10th position out of 113 countries, a score which places Australia at second out of 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region (which also includes: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). Australia is ranked 10th out of 35 among high income countries.
In the eight primary rule of law factors Australia scored as follows:
|Regional Rank 2/15||Income Rank 10/35||Global Rank 10/113|
|Regional Rank 5/15||Income Rank 12/35||Global Rank 12/113|
|Regional Rank 2/15||Income Rank 9/35||Global Rank 9/113|
|Regional Rank 2/15||Income Rank 13/35||Global Rank 13/113|
|Regional Rank 5/15||Income Rank 17/35||Global Rank 18/113|
|Regional Rank 3/15||Income Rank 7/35||Global Rank 7/113|
|Regional Rank 5/15||Income Rank 13/35||Global Rank 13/113|
|Regional Rank 3/15||Income Rank 13/35||Global Rank 13/113|
The most significant factor improvement for Australia was reported to be an improvement in "Open Government".
The East Asia and Pacific region was the second-ranked region in rule of law index, behind Western Europe and North America. New Zealand and Australia continued to be the top performers in the region with New Zealand ranking seventh three places in front of Australia.
Generally, the East Asia and Pacific region experienced a decrease in their overall
rule of law score, with the score of more than two-thirds of countries in the region
declining. The most significant drop was in the Philippines which fell 18 places
to 88th out of 113 countries.
The decline in the East Asia and Pacific region reflects the global result which saw a majority of countries' scores decline since the publication of the last WJP Rule of Law Index. Key areas of decline were in human rights, checks on government powers, and civil and criminal justice.
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