Singapore is ranked 9th in the world for rule of law. For a country which always gets first, it doesn’t seem particular exciting that we are ranked 9th. But it’s worth noting that we are first in Asia.

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So what’s this ranking about and what’s so interesting about it?

A ranking of countries on their rule of law helps highlight the world’s ongoing need for equality in justice. Yet just as important is raising the integrity of prosecutors as well as all citizens.

It’s conducted by World Justice Project (WJP), an independent advocacy group in U.S. The group defines the rule of law as (1. Government Powers, 2. Absence of Corruption, 3. Open Government, 4. Fundamental Rights, 5. Order and Security, 6. Regulatory Enforcement, 7. Civil Justice and 8. Criminal Justice).

As expected, we rank highly for ‘order and security’ and ‘regulatory enforcement’ but not so well for ‘constraints on government powers’, ‘fundamental rights’ and ‘open government’. Looking at the description on ‘constraints on government power’, it includes i) ‘government powers are effectively limited by the legislature’ and ii) ‘government powers are subject to non-governmental checks.’ These essentially are standards associated with Western liberal democracy which a one-party dominant state like Singapore normally do not score well in.

We are number 1 in the whole of Asia, emphasizing the fact that we did better than Japan (a developed country).

Quoting the WJP, the rule of law is notoriously difficult to define and a simple way to approach it is in terms of the outcome. Good to know that our government is still being recognised as accountable in the eyes of many.

Maybe a small pat on our back. 🙂