Earlier this year, research presented at our World Justice Forum made international news with a shocking finding: more than 1.5 billion people—one in five people worldwide—face unmet legal needs (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/apr/29/global-justice-system-fails-5-billion-people-study) , ranging from disputes over land, debt, and basic public services to unreported violent and petty crime.
This crisis has real-world consequences (https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/global-insights-access-justice-2019) . Our global surveys found that more than 1 in 4 people experienced physical or stress-related ill health as a result of their legal problem, with more than 1 in 5 losing their job or having to relocate. Negative impacts from legal problems cost between 0.5 and 3 percent of annual GDP in developed and developing countries alike.
When people can’t get justice, it’s not only their health and wealth that suffer. Trust in institutions erodes. Add to the mix rising authoritarianism (https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/wjp-rule-law-index-2019-global-press-release) and a worsening human rights crisis, and the rule of law is under stress as never before.
2019 was a critical year for the World Justice Project and our work to create knowledge, build awareness, and stimulate action to advance the rule of law. Below you will find highlights from the last twelve months of our efforts, including a roundup of media stories (https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/wjp-data-featured-top-news-outlets-around-world-2019) showing how WJP data and insight can drive awareness and reform.
We have big plans for 2020 and beyond. We are expanding the WJP Rule of Law Index’s reach into Africa, now covering 34 countries on the continent; supporting research-based police and prison reforms in Mexico (https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/mexicos-new-criminal-justice-system-working) ; deepening our advocacy on the global access to justice crisis by documenting effective solutions (https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/announcing-wjps-rule-law-solutions-initiative) and sharing this learning with our global network; piloting a new study on rule of law and the environment (https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/special-reports/environmental-governance-latin-america) in ten countries in Latin America; providing data to the Minister of Justice of Kosovo to inform their reform efforts; and rolling out new communications initiatives to get our research and resources into more people’s hands around the world.
We could not do this without the help of our supporters. Join us in the effort to strengthen and advance the rule of law today and for generations to come.
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Realizing Justice for All in 2019 and Beyond
In 2019, WJP devoted its World Justice Forum (https://worldjusticeproject.org/world-justice-forum-vi) to the global effort to deliver on the promise of “justice for all” contained in United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16. The Forum addressed the scope and character of unmet justice needs around the world, showcased innovative and evidence-based approaches to people-centered solutions, demonstrated the value of multi-disciplinary collaboration, and motivated new commitments to action. The World Justice Forum Report 2019 (https://worldjusticeproject.org/world-justice-forum-vi/world-justice-forum-report-2019) reflects these challenging and inspiring four days of strengthening our understanding of the justice gap, identifying solutions, and motivating action for change.
2019 Report: Rule of Law Continues Negative Slide Worldwide
On February 28, the World Justice Project released the WJP Rule of Law Index® 2019 (https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/wjp-rule-law-index-2019) , a report based on more than 120,000 household and 3,800 expert surveys in 126 countries. The 2019 Index found that for the second year in a row, more countries declined than improved (https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/wjp-rule-law-index-2019-global-press-release) . Featuring current, original data, the WJP Rule of Law Index measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.
Projects from Brazil, India, Kenya, Malawi, United States Win Worldwide WJP Competition for Effective Access to Justice Programs
As WJP data revealed in the 2019 Task Force on Justice “Justice for All” report, more than 5 billion people have unmet justice needs globally. WJP’s 2019 World Justice Challenge: Access to Justice Solutions (https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/projects-brazil-india-kenya-malawi-united-states-win-worldwide-competition-effective-access) competition sought to identify projects working to provide access to justice to excluded groups, and contribute to the movement to close the justice gap and realize justice for all. The five winning World Justice Challenge projects—selected out of 30 finalists and over 250 submissions—represent some of the best work being done globally to increase access to justice.
Driving the Global Conversation on the Rule of Law
In 2019, WJP’s research and reports were cited by hundreds of media outlets including The Economist (https://www.economist.com/china/2019/06/20/a-policy-u-turn-puts-hong-kongs-leader-in-a-precarious-position) , Wall Street Journal (https://www.wsj.com/articles/undermining-hong-kong-courts-is-bad-for-business-11574153981) , The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/feb/28/study-warns-of-rise-in-autocratic-leaders-hijacking-laws-for-own-ends-world-justice-project-global-justice-index?fbclid=IwAR138bZGrx2DauUp0yQB5LJ1-CtROalJwczgE9BqxAWp6hwpbK0yHXJDH5o) , Forbes (https://www.forbes.com.mx/la-corrupcion-y-la-violencia-arrastran-a-mexico-en-indice-global-de-estado-de-derecho/) , Newsweek (https://www.newsweek.com/time-commit-justice-all-opinion-1453128) , and BBC News (https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/trad/chinese-news-48633276) , covering worrying trends from Warsaw to Washington, DC. WJP Rule of Law Index scores, new research on access to justice and the global justice gap,
and new data from WJP-Mexico brought context and insight to global news on the rule of law. Explore top media coverage worldwide (https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/wjp-data-featured-top-news-outlets-around-world-2019) .
Global Insights on Access to Justice Report Brings Justice Gap to Light
In 2019 WJP released Global Insights on Access to Justice 2019: Findings from the World Justice Project General Population Poll in 101 Countries (https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/global-insights-access-justice-2019) , presenting data on how ordinary people around the world navigate their everyday legal problems. This first-ever effort to capture comparable data on legal needs and access to justice on a global scale represents the voices of more than 100,000 people in 101 countries. Visit the data portal (http://data.worldjusticeproject.org/accesstojustice/#/) to explore access to justice paths globally.
Revealing Torture and Ill-Treatment in Mexico’s Criminal Justice System
A new 2019 report from WJP-Mexico, Failed Justice: Prevalence of Torture in Mexico’s Criminal Justice System (https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/new-report-torture-mexicos-criminal-justice-system) , analyzes quantitative evidence concerning the cases of thousands of people who are victims of torture or ill-treatment when prosecuted in Mexico’s criminal justice systems. The report offers qualitative evidence in the form of in-depth interviews with procedural criminal justice stakeholders, illustrating the extent and prevalence of torture throughout different stages of the systems.
New Season of “Rule of Law Talk” Podcast
WJP’s Rule of Law Talk (https://worldjusticeproject.org/about-us/connect/podcast) podcast series featured some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts and leading lights on the rule of law in 2019. Check out our latest episodes with Hurst Hannum (https://worldjusticeproject.org/about-us/connect/podcast/hurst-hannum-rescuing-human-rights) on rescuing the human rights system, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin (https://worldjusticeproject.org/about-us/connect/podcast/fionnuala-n%C3%AD-aol%C3%A1in-emergency-laws-and-human-rights) on emergency laws and human rights, Willy Mutunga and Salaheddin Al-Bashir (https://worldjusticeproject.org/about-us/connect/podcast/what-makes-justice-leader) on “What Makes a Justice Leader?”, and Gerald Staberock (https://worldjusticeproject.org/about-us/connect/podcast/gerald-staberock-world-organization-against-torture) on the World Organization Against Torture. Stay tuned for new episodes coming in 2020.