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Can New Zealand’s Judicial Processes really be this bad?

Each year the World Bank updates its assessments of the degree to which business regulations make it easy or hard to do business in a county. Its 2018 report is the latest in this series.  It covers 190 countries.  You can download its data into Excel here.

New Zealand comes out top overall for ease of doing business. That’s great. But delving into the components of this aggregate reveals a mixed bag. We are outstanding in some areas, for example in the ease of setting up a new company.  But we are well down the country rankings in some other areas.

Our score for the Quality of Judicial Processes looks particularly bad. It is 9.5 out of a possible score of 18.  Australia tops the world with 15.5.  Fifty-three countries of 190 score more than New Zealand. These include 23 members of the 34 member countries of the OECD.  We share the score of 9.5 with nine other countries.  Two are also members of the OECD – Canada and the Czech Republic. Russia, Kosovo, Moldova, Amenia, Namibia, Paraguay and Palau also score 9.5.  The eight OECD member countries that score below New Zealand are Chile (9), Finland, Luxembourg, and Belgium, (each scoring 8), Ireland, Iceland and Japan (each scoring 7.5), and the Netherlands (7).

The World Bank explains its detailed methodology for its index of the quality of judicial processes here (scroll down). It evaluates an impressive 17 aspects of each country’s judicial processes. It aggregates them into four sub-component indexes: court structure and proceedings; case management; court automation; and alternative dispute resolution. This does not look like an assessment that can be lightly dismissed.

Do any readers have some perspectives on New Zealand’s poor ranking that they can share?

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