around the bar
October 30, 2009

Global Gathering to Unveil Rule of Law Index Data, Design Multidisciplinary Plans for Local Action


The Austria Center Vienna is the site of the World Justice Forum II to be held November 11-14.

VIENNA, Oct. 29, 2009 – Approximately 350 prominent leaders from 16 various fields of endeavor and more than 80 nations will convene in Vienna Nov. 11 – 14 at the World Justice Forum II to discuss how the rule of law impacts their professional disciplines and communities, and to develop projects that can make a difference at a local level.

The three-day Forum, hosted by the World Justice Project and being held at the Austria Center Vienna, will include a discussion and analysis of the rule of law in nearly three dozen nations, including Albania, Argentina, Austria, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand and the United States. The Rule of Law Index is an assessment tool that provides a comprehensive picture of how nations adhere to the rule of law in practice.  The World Justice Project anticipates administering the Index in 100 countries within three years.

Data for the Index was gathered through interviewing practitioners, community leaders and academics, as well as professional polling of a large sample of citizens who are subject to the rules of a specific country.  Among the key factors considered: whether the government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law; whether the laws are clear, publicized, stable and fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property; whether the process by which the laws are enacted, administered and enforced is accessible, fair and efficient; and whether the access to justice is provided adequately by competent, independent, and ethical adjudicators, attorneys or representatives and judicial officers.

During the invitation-only Forum, which members of the media are invited to attend, participants will hear from such distinguished speakers as Palestinian legislator and activist Dr. Hanan Ashrawi; Ashraf Ghani, Chairman, Institute for State Effectiveness, Afghanistan; and Ellen Gracie Northfleet, member of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil and its first female president.

The objective of the Forum is the design, by participants, of multidisciplinary projects that can be implemented locally to strengthen the rule of law.  The World Justice Project’s Opportunity Fund awards seed-money grants to grassroots groups that work to further justice.  To date, such multidisciplinary projects have included helping poor residents in India to obtain basic health care, ensuring access to justice as it relates to marriage and property rights for women in Sierra Leone, and working to end corruption in construction in Tunisia.  The attendees of the Forum will commit to work toward strengthening the rule of law when they return to their homes through similar projects incubated during the Forum.

The draft agenda for the Forum can be found at http://www.worldjusticeproject/forum.

The World Justice Project, an independent tax-exempt corporation, is unique in its engagement of stakeholders from a variety of disciplines around the world and is building an active network of governmental and nongovernmental leaders from 16 disciplinary fields, representing all socio-economic levels of society. Its work is being carried out through the creation of a comprehensive Rule of Law Index, the convening of global and regional mainstreaming meetings of leaders from various work disciplines on rule of law issues, the issuance of seed grants through the WJP’s Opportunity Fund to rule of law initiatives and the origination of new scholarship on rule of law issues.  The Project’s efforts are dedicated to developing practical programs in support of the rule of law around the world.

- 30 -

Reporters interested in attending the World Justice Forum, or wishing additional information or interviews, should contact Patricia Gaul at or +1 202/662-1094