Global Trends in Judicial Reform

The past decade has been defined by democratic backsliding and the reemergence of authoritarianism around the globe. Freedom House marked 2020 as the 17th consecutive year of global democratic decline, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing polarization, and rising inequality. In the face of such trends, what role can a healthy, independent judiciary play in halting the rise of anti-democratic leaders and preserving the rule of law?

Stanford Law School Policy Lab

The Global Trends in Judicial Reform Policy Lab at Stanford Law School seeks to investigate answers to these questions by conducting comparative research on 21st century judicial reform efforts. Which nations have pursued innovative new strategies to improve the functioning of their judiciaries? Topics for research have included advances in judicial independence, judicial appointment and vetting mechanisms, balance of power structures, constitutional review, access to justice, and other factors affecting the rule of law. Country-specific case studies survey the impact of a specific country’s reforms on various stakeholders in the legal system, including judges, legal practitioners, and the public. The findings of such surveys can inform recommendations for future research and reform efforts.

Map of Global Judicial Reforms

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