New Zealand trumps Australia on rule of law

New Zealand has come out ahead of Australia in a global ranking of legal jurisdictions measuring the rule of law - but did we both beat the poms?

New Zealand's legal system has come out ahead of Australia's in a global ranking of legal jurisdictions that measures the rule of law as experienced by citizens.

New Zealand came sixth out of 99 countries ranked in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index, putting it at the top of 15 countries that were ranked as part of the 'East Asia and the Pacific' regional grouping.

This ensured that it pipped Australasian compatriot Australia, which ranked second in the Asia-Pacific region, but which ranked only eighth overall against the 99 jurisdictions around the world.

The report found that the rule of law in Australia had actually dropped in two key areas, which were termed 'constraints on government powers' and 'regulatory enforcement'. New Zealand's also decreased this year in the area of 'criminal justice'.

Though both countries inherit their legal system from the UK, the motherland only managed a global ranking of 13, behind both New Zealand and Australia. The USA also ranked behind Australasia, with a global ranking of 19.

The Rule of Law Index attempts to measure the rule of law in jurisdictions around the globe, by relying on over 100,000 household and 2,400 expert surveys which measure how the rule of law is experienced in the course of everyday life around the world.

It marked a number of global trends, including a significant decline in criminal justice worldwide, and an overall improvement in order and security.
The global rule of law leaders
1 Denmark
2 Norway
3 Sweden
4 Finland
5 The Netherlands
The regional leaders
Country Region
Denmark (Western Europe and North America)
Uruguay (Latin America and the Caribbean)
Botswana (sub-Saharan Africa)
New Zealand (East Asia and Pacific)
Georgia (Eastern Europe and Central Asia)
Sri Lanka (South Asia)
United Arab Emirates (Middle East and North Africa)
East Asia and the Pacific regional rankings
1 New Zealand
2 Australia
3 Japan
4 Republic of Korea
5 Singapore
6 Hong Kong SAR, China
7 Indonesia
8 Philippines
9 Malaysia
10 Mongolia
11 Thailand
12 Myanmar
13 Vietnam
14 China
15 Cambodia
For the full report, visit the WJP Rule of Law Index.


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