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Judiciary and law enforcement

An independent judiciary and clean law enforcement are central to democracy and rule of law.

Strengthening independent judiciaries through higher salaries and better legal protections is an effective way to tackle corruption, holding the corrupt accountable and giving their victims justice. People’s experiences with the judiciary and law enforcement are often very different from this: many face demands for bribes to dismiss a charge, fast-track a case or slow down a trial. Judges can also be bribed, or subject to political pressure and interference from above.

Photo: Sebastian Pichler /

Corruption in the judicial system breaks the basic principle of equality before the law and deprives people of their right to a fair trial. In a corrupt judicial system, money and influence may decide which cases are prioritised or dismissed. Perpetrators may get away unpunished while victims are left with no answer and no justice.

Simple reforms can prevent this. An independent body and public oversight can guarantee that appointments in the judiciary are based on merit rather than favouritism. Judicial personnel should be adequately trained and receive fair salaries and pensions, to make them less vulnerable to bribery. Judges’ personal liability for decisions should be limited and, to protect them from pressure by powerful interests, only credible and transparent investigations should be conducted against them.

Civil society, the private sector, and the media – we all have a vital role to play.

Judicial bias must be exposed and reforms to increase courtroom honesty implemented. To ensure a fair adjudication of each and every case, judiciary has to be independent, impartial and act with integrity.

What are we doing about it?

Photo: Iñaki del Olmo /

We provide research and evidence

that analyses the systemic failures that compromise the integrity, independence and accountability of the judiciary.

Photo: Jonathan Borba /

We support governments and policy makers

to build a strong, independent and accountable judiciary and law enforcement. Together with our international, regional and national partners, we push for the adoption, monitoring and enforcement of anti-corruption laws and standards.

Photo: You X Ventures /

We encourage and educate practitioners

to stand up for integrity in the judiciary and to demand changes in attitude and practice – because change must come from within the system.

Photo: freestocks /

We mobilise citizens

and offer them channels to voice their concerns and hold the judiciary accountable.


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Corruption Perceptions Index 2019

Publication •

The Corruption Perceptions Index scores 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.


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