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The World Bank is an international organization, comprised of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), that provides financial and technical assistance to client countries. The mission of the World Bank is to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. Justice and the rule of law are key to achieving these twin goals. A lack of justice is a central dimension of poverty, and increasing evidence points to the importance of accountable and effective justice institutions in creating the enabling environment for a range of development outcomes – from improved basic services to increased private sector investment and reduced corruption.

Over the past 25 years the Bank has supported a range of activities in justice reform and rule of law through lending and analytical and advisory work. These include support for reform of justice sector institutions, as well as integrated parts of projects focusing on public sector reform, governance and anti-corruption, citizen security, economic development, urban and social development, poverty reduction, gender equality, and natural resource management, among others. 
The World Bank’s core work in justice and the rule of law rests with the Governance Global Practice. Our work focuses on:

  • Improving the performance of justice sector institutions
  • Advising on criminal justice reform and citizen security
  • Generating learning and designing interventions to promote access to justice and legal empowerment
  • Promoting justice in development sectors such as land, extractives, and urban development
  • Reforming the justice sector for better business and investment climate
  • Leading global knowledge, learning and measurement initiatives on justice, human rights, and the rule of law

Relevant Documents and Links

World Bank headquarters. Washington DC.

World Bank headquarters. Washington DC. Photo: Deborah W. Campos, World Bank