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UAE is MENA’s Top Country in Rule of Law Index

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


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Yet again, the UAE has made its mark on the global justice platform after the World Justice Project (WJP) ranked UAE among the top 40 countries under their Rule of Law Index 2021. With a multitude of factors determining the ranking, the UAE has proven that their judiciary and administration is efficient.

Apart from standing first among the MENA countries, the UAE has been ranked 37th out of 139 countries worldwide. In the MENA theatre, UAE is followed by Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Iran and Egypt.


UAE has a Risk of Corruption?

The stringent and active laws in the UAE keeps corruption at bay since the penalties are rather harsh compared to other developed or developing countries. Moreover, since the UAE comes under the ‘High Income Countries’ list, all government officials and administrative personnel are well paid. Thereby, reducing the need for corruption.

Offering bribe is a great deal of a crime in the UAE. According to Article 237 of the UAE Federal Penal Code, an individual who offers bribe to a public officer or anyone in a position to influence a public officer is punishable under law.

The law states that even if the officer doesn’t accept the bribe, the individual who offered the bribe will be punished with a maximum of five years of prison sentence. The public officers on the other hand, can be prosecuted under the law if he/she accepts the bribe even without the intent of executing the briber’s demands.

This law also makes any agent/middleperson responsible for facilitating the bribery with same stringency. Thus, making it extremely hard for all parties to involve in corruption.

Article 236 of the UAE Federal Penal Code has established clear rules for the private sector when it comes to acts of bribery. It suggests that only the individual who accepts the bribe in exchange for committing the promised task will be held accountable.

The punishment can include a fine equivalent to the bribe accepted by them, not less than Dh1,000 in all cases. It is to be noted that Article 236 doesn’t have provisions to punish the briber or agent.


The Rule of Law Index

The WJP’s Rule of Law Index is an annual report based on surveys conducted on 138,000 households and 4,200 legal practitioners across 139 nations across the globe.

The index considers eight different factors which give an overall overview of judiciary efficiency and effective governance. Civic order, constraints on government powers, open government, fundamental rights, absence of corruption, civil & criminal justice, security regulatory framework and implementation are the factors considered.


UAE and the Rest of the World

Since last year’s report the UAE has slipped by just 1% in the world. Due to the deterioration in rule of law since the pandemic however, 74.2% of the countries declined in their index rankings. According to the WJP 2021 report, UAE retains the same ranking as earlier despite the 1% slippage.

Since 2020, only 25.8% of the countries worldwide prospered under rankings of this rule of law index. The 2021 Rule of Law report also suggests that the countries that had been ranked lower this year account to 84.7% of the world’s population (6.5 billion people).

“With negative trends in so many countries, this year’s WJP Rule of Law Index should be a wake-up call for us all”, said Bill Neukom, co-founder and CEO of the World Justice Project.

He went on to say, “Rule of Law is the very foundation of communities of justice, opportunity and peace. Reinforcing that foundation should be a top priority for the coming period of recovery from the pandemic.”

The declines were widespread and seen in all corners of the world due the pandemic and various other factors. For the second year in a row, in every region, a majority of countries slipped backwards or remained unchanged in their overall rule of law performance.



Though 74% of the world had issues making advances in their Rule of Law Index scores, the UAE has been a part of that 25% of countries that made progress. The cumulative scores of the UAE in civic order, security regulation and absence of corruption that put it on top of the MENA countries while ranking 37th all over the world.

The strong laws involved in upholding justice (both civil and criminal) while considering the effectiveness of the judiciary are the reason that UAE has made it to the top in this index.