Estonia ranked 12th in the world on the rule of law

According to the 2017-2018 World Justice Project Rule of Law index, Estonia is ranked 12th out of 113 countries in the world, having improved its standing by two positions compared with the 2016 index.

The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index measures rule of law adherence in 113 countries in the world, based on over 110,000 household and 3,000 expert surveys. The index measures the 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.

According to the World Justice Project, Estonia improved its ranking by two positions for overall rule of law performance – in 2016, the country ranked 14th.

Estonia’s “score places it at 10 out of 24 countries in the Western Europe and North America region and 12 out of 25 among high income countries”, the organisation said in a statement. “Significant trends included an improvement in order and security.”

Most countries’ scores in decline

In the world, Estonia ranks highest in fundamental rights (10/113), constraints on government powers (11/113) and civil justice (11/113). The country ranks lowest in criminal justice – but with a ranking of 19 it still scores high in this area.

The index was topped by Denmark, followed by Norway and Finland; the bottom three were Afghanistan, Cambodia and Venezuela.

The World Justice Project added that globally, a majority of countries saw their scores decline since the last index, published in October 2016, in the areas of human rights, checks on government powers and civil and criminal justice.

“Effective rule of law is the foundation for communities of equity, opportunity and peace,” William H. Neukom, the founder and CEO of the World Justice Project, said in a statement. “No country has achieved a perfect realisation of the rule of law. The WJP Rule of Law Index is intended to be a first step in setting benchmarks, informing reforms, stimulating programs and deepening appreciation and understanding for the foundational importance of the rule of law.”

The World Justice Project is an independent organisation working to advance the rule of law worldwide.


The cover image is illustrative (Shutterstock).

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at