UAE ranks 5th in world for order and security

The UAE has ranked fifth in the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index. The Emirates also took top place in the Middle East for the second year running.

ABU DHABI // The UAE has ranked fifth in the world in providing order and security for its residents.

And for the second consecutive year, the Emirates took top place in the Middle East for the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index.

The country's global performance was one place better than last year, although this year's index covered 97 countries compared with 66.

The Rule of Law Index is administered by the non-profit group World Justice Project (WJP) and was released yesterday.

It measures the adherence of countries to the rule of law, and shows changes in those countries over time, providing governments, businesses, NGOs and civil society with a tool to plan targeted, effective reforms.

The UAE scored top grades regionally in the absence of corruption, order and security, regulatory enforcement, access to civil justice and effective criminal justice.

"The UAE leads the region in several dimensions of the rule of law," the report said. "Public institutions in the country are relatively well developed and free of corruption, and government officers are held accountable for misconduct."

It added the country is safe from crime and violence, and the civil court system is efficient and relatively independent.

Globally, the UAE ranked in order and security behind only Singapore, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

The country's criminal justice system ranked 12th due to the effective investigations system used, the report stated.

For the absence of corruption and regulatory enforcement, the UAE made 23rd and 24th of the 97 countries.

But the report also stated that discrimination against "marginalised groups is a problem", and that the formal system of checks and balances remains weak.

The UAE leads the Middle East and North Africa in most dimensions of the rule of law, followed by Tunisia and Jordan.

"Achieving the rule of law is a constant challenge and a work in progress in all countries," said WJP founder William H Neukom.

"The WJP's Rule of Law Index is not designed to shame or blame but to provide useful reference points for countries in the same regions."

The report was based on a series of scenario questions posed to legal experts in each country.

For fundamental rights the UAE, which ranked second to Lebanon last year, dropped three places to fifth in the region.

In spite of the UAE's strengths, "the formal system of checks and balances remains weak, and fundamental rights are curtailed (ranking 82nd), including labour rights, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom from arbitrary interference with privacy and freedom of opinion and expression".

For the second year running, Ebrahim El Saddig, a partner at the international law firm SNR Denton & Co in Dubai, authored the UAE report.

But this year he was joined by seven other legal practitioners in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, and an undisclosed number of anonymous contributors, the report shows.

"The WJP report shows the nexus between good governance, the rule of law and the ability to attract investments," Mr El Saddig said aftre the release of last year's report.