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Sweden tops global rule of law ranking

AFP/The Local · 15 Oct 2010, 08:47

Published: 15 Oct 2010 08:47 GMT+02:00

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The index ranks governments in a variety of categories such as absence of corruption, clear and stable laws, open government and access to the justice system.

The aim of the project is to advance the rule of law around the world in a manner that transcends income and cultural factors.

According to the study, Sweden ranked first in five of nine categories —government accountability, absence of corruption, clear and stable laws, open government, and regulatory enforcement— and places in the top 5 in all nine categories.

In providing access to civil justice to its citizens, Sweden came in at number two, after Singapore.

"Establishing the rule of law is fundamental to achieving communities of opportunity and equity -- communities that offer sustainable economic development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights," the report said.

"Without the rule of law, medicines do not reach health facilities due to corruption; women in rural areas remain unaware of their rights; people are killed in criminal violence; and firms' costs increase because of expropriation risk. The rule of law is the cornerstone to improving public health, safeguarding participation, ensuring security, and fighting poverty."

While the report, based on a three-year study examining , examines data for 37 indicators on the rule of law, provides no single rank for the 35 countries examined, Sweden, by placing at the tope in five categories, performed the best of all countries included in the study.

The Netherlands also scored high, ranking second in five categories and third in two others.

Austria was the top country for "fundamental rights," and an effective criminal justice system while Singapore topped the list for "order and security" and access to civil justice.

The United States did not top any categories but was third in open government. Most of the rankings were near the bottom of the 11 high-income nations.

Despite Sweden’s outstanding performance in guaranteeing access to civil justice to its citizens —which places it at number two—Sweden still faces challenges in guaranteeing access to legal counsel to its citizens, where it underperforms both its regional and income group peers.

The study finds that people in Sweden have less access to legal counsel in civil disputes than do individuals in some middle-income countries such as Argentina or Colombia.

Another area where Sweden underperforms Western European countries and other high income peers is the effectiveness of the criminal investigation system.

According to a Rule of Law Index poll of 1,000 people in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö in 2009, only 4 percent of the perpetrators who committed a burglary were punished, a much lower figure than the 10 percent average than in Austria, France, Netherlands, and Spain – the other western European countries included in the index.

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According to the report, which was based on 35,000 questionnaires and numerous interviews, "the findings need to be interpreted in light of certain inherent limitations."

"While the index is helpful to tracking the 'temperature' of the rule of law situation in the countries under study, it is not powerful enough to provide a full diagnosis or to dictate concrete priorities for action. No single index can convey a full picture of a country's situation."

The project, which is advised by former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former Irish president Mary Robinson, among others, intends to expand its study for 2011 and 2012.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:16 October 15, 2010 by SarahRF
Things like this make me skeptical when Swedes say they are not nationalistic or "all for the fatherland!". I mean come on, how many surveys have we seen like this lately, where Sweden comes out on top? Sweden is getting a big head, me thinks :P
09:45 October 15, 2010 by eppie

Well this is the local....a paper about news in/on Sweden.

And I think it is good to publish these kinds of things, especially for the frustrated americans that read this webpage and think everything in Sweden is bad and everything in the US good.

But you are right....I think the next article about a survey the local should publish has to be about the number of different brands of soft drink you can buy in the supermarket.
09:47 October 15, 2010 by Kevin Harris

Swedes do not judge these indexes; they are judged by supposedly independant international commitees. This one was overseen by Madeleine Albright and Mary Robinson. It is proper that the Swedish media report the results.
10:01 October 15, 2010 by JethroGreenmantle
Sverige är bäst!

Swedes are programmed to notice and rebroadcast results in any field that support this thesis. There's even a clause in the naturalisation papers that requires this.

You are also supposed to be terribly concerned when results show Sweden is slipping down any give league table. (It's OK to come second or third to, say Norway or Denmark tho'.)

When rebroadcasting results, you should also try to put an extra positive spin on them. So, "Sweden ranked first in five of nine categories" = "Sweden tops global rule of law ranking." At least The Local journalists haven't become so Suedified they feel they don't have to explain why 5/9 counts as first place.
10:27 October 15, 2010 by hilt_m

Love it! You hit the nail right on the head there!!!! lol
10:38 October 15, 2010 by byke
more bollox and drive from the local
11:00 October 15, 2010 by Beavis
This is horsecrap...Swedens laws are about as vague as you can get, an does it actually follow any of the EU law of which it signed up to? Its almost bottom of the pile there. They might be right as regards political curroption but thats about it!
11:31 October 15, 2010 by Audrian
This survey shows it is Europe and Singapore and not the US that should give leadership to world affairs. The composition of the Security Council of the UN should be revised to reflect this.

Look at the problem of military disarmament. UK is planning to cut expenditure and balance its books. Clinton told Bitain not to cut military expenditure. Bad influence!
11:36 October 15, 2010 by Bork
Quite a few countries were not in this survey, namely Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Germany.


http://worldjusticeproject.com/sites/default/files/WJP%20Rule%20of%20Law%20Index%202010_0.pdf (pg 105 or 111 as PDF)
13:02 October 15, 2010 by kenny8076
Audrian i wish the US WOULD give leadership and protection to other countrys, dont worry it will happen soon, and then you all can scratch your heads, Us Americans are tired of being the global police to countrys that cant act right.... We have a newer generation starting to make their way into offices and out with the old ones. We would rather take care of ourselves than the world, trust me...... soon it will be this way........ have fun and good luck with that!!
14:10 October 15, 2010 by Kaethar
Lol, proof given and people are still complaining. The reason the Local would have posted this is the continuous complaints on the forums by expats of Sweden's crime and law system. If we should trust the Local posters Sweden is a land of anarchy where criminals have the last say. -.- The Swedish system like any isn't perfect but it's pretty damn good on an international scale.
15:30 October 15, 2010 by facetedjewel

"This survey shows it is Europe and Singapore and not the US that should give leadership to world affairs.'

I don't know about Singapore though. Occasionally I like a stick of chewing gum, and I've been known to be clumsy . . . so that whole caning thing, . . .wow.
15:47 October 15, 2010 by Nemesis
Sweden does not have rule of law.

In Sweden criminals are free to do as they wish.
15:50 October 15, 2010 by bobby14
WOW! I have to say that I am shocked by this artical and the fact that Sweden is even in the top 100 of this survey. I am a Canadian who was recruited to work in Sweden who unfortunately was injured while performing his work duties and now is an invalid. The insurance companies deemed it a work injury and I was paid a "Life annuity" for a few years before Fkassan decided that I could perform my work even though I am an invalid... We have been to court 5 times now and we have won every time, but Fkassan has hidden behind the law in order to avoid paying me and or drastically reducing the amount of my "life annuity"... There is no justice in Sweden and the laws are used by Goverment agencies in order to avoid payments... I am not the only one in this situation, but I am now becoming a volcal one...

Sweden has no justice and the laws are broken daily by the Gov.
16:26 October 15, 2010 by Roy E
The 'World Justice Project'?

This article is suitable for publishing only on April Fool's day.
18:14 October 15, 2010 by ww77ww
Effective government? Look at what the government has made of demographics in the past 2 generations. This must be a joke.
20:27 October 15, 2010 by LuxVeritas
Talking about justice, NATO, the UN, WHO do not give a crud about the Geneva Convention. Depleted uranium bombs are fine in the Middle East and phosphorous bombs fine for Israelis to bomb Palestinian civilians in their own country. No war criminals have been tried by the International Joke court of Justice and unbeknown to most people, most of us are tried by corporations using UCC that use trickery and deception with ordinances and statutes which are NOT LAW.

But what do I know; I don't have a univercinical diploma, so I can be ridiculed. I'll leave it to the words of wiser people.

CORRUPTISIMA RE PUBLICA PLURIMAE LEGES - In the most corrupt state have the most laws. (Tacitus, if memory serves me)

"The law is a strange thing. It makes a man swear to tell the truth, and every time he shows signs of doing so, some lawyer objects."

"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable." - Louis D. Brandeis.

"A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer." - Robert Frost.

"It takes a long time to learn that a courtroom is the last place in the world for learning the truth." - Alice Koller.

"The law itself follows gold." - Propertius.

"If you have come here seeking justice, leave all hope at the front door."
21:11 October 15, 2010 by Swedesmith
Propertius, wasn't he one of O.J. Simpson's lawyers?
21:33 October 15, 2010 by mikewhite
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What's wrong with patriotism? Surely it makes sense to uphold the virtues,values and culture of ones country and protect them.
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