Countries in Western Europe and North America continue to top the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2016, followed by countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. Once again the very worst scores for rule of law are found in emerging Europe and Africa.
Apart from Albania, Turkey, and Russia, most countries in the CEE region remained largely unchanged since 2015. Albania dropped 9 positions to 72nd globally; Turkey fell 8 positions to 99th; and Russia moved down 6 positions to 92nd.
Western Europe and North America (defined as EU + EFTA + North America) account for eight of the top 10 places in the rankings, with Denmark remaining the highest-ranked country in rule of law followed by Norway.
Ignoring Africa, then the worst rule of law was found in Turkey in the 2016 rankings, closely followed by Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. Since taking over as president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become increasingly authoritarian, but took things to a new level by arresting parliamentary opposition leaders, after lifting their parliamentary immunity and accusing them of terrorism.
On a happier note, the performance of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) was spread over a wide spectrum, with the Czech Republic and Estonia outperforming the US and ranking in the top 20. Estonia was the highest placed of any former Soviet bloc country at 14th place and its rule of law is on a par with any European Union (EU) member country.
Romania was the biggest mover in the region’s rankings year-on-year (calculated by comparing countries against the original 2015 WJP Rule of Law Index country set, excluding 11 new countries added this year), rising 4 positions to 32nd out of 113 countries worldwide over 2015 rankings. Meanwhile, France and Hungary each lost 3 positions, to 21st and 49th respectively.
The leader in eastern Europe and Central Asia region is predictably Georgia, ranking 34th out of 113 countries worldwide, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, FYR.