Global Assessment: How does the World View Crime and Justice?

black Image of scales on white background with the words, "calibrate the scales" overlaid. As with any set of scales, the scales of justice must, from time to time, be recalibrated. Total balance is never achieved, but all in the criminal justice and legal systems must strive for it as much as possible.

Globalization is a force that is largely promoted by Western nations. Thus, any global assessment of crime and justice requires an examination first of the legal systems in each nation, then the cultures of each location, and the general attitude of the people towards the United States and European powers.

Notions of crime and justice vastly differ from nation to nation largely because virtually no two governments use the same legal structure. Even within academia, depending on who you ask, there can be anywhere from two to two dozen different types of law. With so much confusion about law and legal systems just among scholars, is there any wonder efforts to globalize face enormous difficulties?

Still, globalization is continuing. Most experts agree that setbacks in 2016 and 2017 with populist candidates taking national elections will do nothing to slow globalization.

However, to create a truly global community, those in charge of creating laws will need to come to some form of consensus about how best to do so. Those in charge of enforcing laws will need to find creative ways to merge jurisdictions while not offending local populations. And local populations will either accept or oppose the new global reality…an issue which world leaders will have to address by finding a way to navigate the legal landscapes as they exist and as the will need to exist if globalization is to become a force for good on planet earth.

Therefore, in starting these Global Assessments, we consider first How the World Views Crime and Justice from the perspective of currently established Law Codes.

To this end, we seek first to establish as simple a method for describing law codes around the world as is reasonable. The goal is to develop a tool by which students of criminal justice around the world may assess the impact of globalization on justice, both social and governmental.

A very simplistic division is to say there are three types of law by which crime and justice may be served. These are:

  • Common Law
  • Codified (or Civil) Law
  • Theocratic or Religious Law

Yet another source would divide law by:

  • Common Law
  • Civil Law
  • Customary Law
  • Islamic Law

Wikipedia provides one of the most expansive descriptions of the types of law around the world:

  • Common Law
  • Civil Law
  • Religious Law
  • Pleuralistic
  • Hybrid
  • Canon
  • Sharia
Map of the countries with anglosaxon legal sys...
Map of the countries with anglosaxon legal systems (in red) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first list seems not to recognize that there are law systems which rely on legal systems very different from Western society. The second list adds Customary Law, which is really another way of stating what is termed in Western language, Common Law. In addition, the second list uses the term Islamic Law, ignoring altogether the fact that other religions have had and continue to have legal systems not described otherwise.

Upon careful examination, hybrid law systems are similar to pleuralistic except that the former use far more elements of the initial three; the latter using combinations of two forms of law. In addition, both Canon and Sharia Law hold to religious underpinnings, so these could rightfully be included with Religious Law.

Types of Law to be Used for this Project

For the purposes of this project, will use the simplest form possible while incorporating all forms which may exist worldwide. These are:

  • Common Law – Includes Customary law, which is what common law really is.
  • Civil Law – sometimes called codified law, though really, any law structure can be codified. Instead, Civil law is that which has been adopted by representatives rather than custom.
  • Religious Law – Includes Islamic Law, Canon (Catholic) Law, Talmudic (Jewish) Law, or any other law influenced by a religion.
  • Hybrid (or Mixed) Law (combining two or all three)

One final note: Some may claim that Socialist Law should be added to the list but the reality is that Socialist Law, distinctive though it may be, is simply another form of Civil or Codified Law. Thus, a socialist nation will be listed as having Civil Law.

A Brief Explanation of this Project

A map of legal systems of the world, in french...
A map of legal systems of the world, in french. Source (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following list of nations is presented by the English name, the local name (if different from English), the location of the nation or territory, and the type or types of law in use to determine justice.

We will be adding more detailed pages related to each location worldwide as these are available. The goal is to develop a complete assessment of the view of crime and justice in each land so that students may readily draw comparisons and contrasts.

Our plan is to continually expand each page to include information related to crime statistics for each land, governing agencies, social organizations involved in distributing social justice, and more.

We welcome the input of readers, especially those who would like to help create the page for their country. If you would like to contribute to this project, please take a moment to complete the simple form at the bottom of this page. Thank you.

  1. Afghanistan/Afghanestan: Located in South-Central Asia – Hybrid (combining Common (or Customary Law), Civil Code, and Religious (Islamic) Law.
  2. Akrotiri: Located in Southern Europe (South of Cyprus) – Common and Civil Law
  3. Albania/Shqiperia: Located in Southern Europe – Civil Law mainly, with some remote areas also applying customary (Common) law.
  4. Algeria/Al Jaza’ir: Located in Northern Africa – Civil and Religious (Islamic) Law
  5. American Samoa: Located in Oceania – Common Law (mix of U.S. and local customary)
  6. Andorra: Located in Southern Europe – Civil and Common Law (though Catholic Canon law yields limited influence)
  7. Angola: Located in Central Africa – Civil Law
  8. Anguilla: Located in the Caribbean – Common Law
  9. Antigua and Barbuda: Located in the Caribbean – Common Law
  10. Argentina: Located in Southern South America – Civil Law
  11. Armenia/Hayastan: Located in Western Asia – Civil Law
  12. Aruba: Located in the Caribbean – Civil Law
  13. Australia: Located in Oceania – Common Law
  14. Austria/Österreich: Located in Western Europe – Civil Law
  15. Azerbaijan/Azarbaycan: Located in Western Asia – Civil Law
  16. Bahamas: Located in the Caribbean – Common Law
  17. Bahrain/Al Bahrayn: Located in the Middle East – Mixed Religious (Islamic), Civil, and Common (English and local customary)
  18. Bangladesh: Located in South-Central Asia – Common and Religious (Islamic) Law
  19. Barbados: Located in the Caribbean – Common Law
  20. Belarus/Byelarus: Located in Eastern Europe – Civil Law
  21. Belgium/Belgique: Located in Western Europe – Civil Law
  22. Belize: Located in Central America – Common Law
  23. Benin: Located in West Africa – Civil Law
  24. Bermuda: Located in North America – Common Law
  25. Bhutan: Located in South-Central Asia – Religious-based Civil Law (Buddhism)
  26. Bolivia: Located in South America – Civil Law
  27. Bosnia and Herzegovina/Bosna i Hercegovina: Located in Southern Europe – Civil Law
  28. Botswana: Located in Southern Africa – Civil Law derived from Common law
  29. Brazil/Brasil: Located in South America – Civil Law
  30. Brunei Darussalam/Negara Brunei Darussalam: Located in Southeast Asia – Common and Religious Law
  31. Bulgaria: Located in Eastern Europe – Civil law
  32. Burkina Faso: Located in West Africa – Civil law
  33. Burundi: Located in Eastern Africa – Civil and Common law
  34. Cambodia/Kampuchea: Located in South-East Asia – Civil and Common law
  35. Cameroon: Located in Central Africa – Common and Civil law
  36. Canada: Located in North America – Common law (Quebec Civil)
  37. Cape Verde/Cabo Verde: Located in West Africa – Civil law
  38. Cayman Islands: Located in Caribbean – Common and (civil in local entities only) law
  39. Central African Republic/Republique Centrafricaine: Located in Central Africa – Civil law
  40. Chad/Tchad: Located in Central Africa – Civil and Common law
  41. Chile: Located in South America – Civil with limited-common law
  42. China/Zhong Guo: Located in Eastern Asia – Civil law
  43. Christmas Island: Located in Southeast Asia – see Australia
  44. Cocos (Keeling) Islands: Located in South-East Asia – Common law
  45. Colombia: Located in South America – Civil law
  46. Comoros/Comores: Located in Eastern Africa – Religious, Civil, and Common law
  47. Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)/République Démocratique du Congo: Located in Central Africa – Civil and Common law
  48. Congo, Republic of (Brazzaville)/République du Congo: Located in Central Africa – Civil and Common law
  49. Cook Islands: Located in Polynesia, Oceania – Common law
  50. Costa Rica: Located in Central America – Civil with limited Common law
  51. Cote d’Ivoire/Ivory Coast: Located in West Africa – Civil with limited Common law
  52. Croatia/Hrvatska: Located in Southern Europe – Civil law
  53. Cuba: Located in Caribbean – Civil law
  54. Curacao: Located in Caribbean – Civil and Common law
  55. Cyprus/Kibris or Kypros: Located in Mediterranean – Common and Civil Law
  56. Czechia/Czech Republic/Ceska Republika: Located in Eastern Europe – Civil law
  57. Denmark/Danmark: Located in Northern Europe
  58. Dhekelia: Located in Southern Europe – Common and Civil Law
  59. Djibouti : Located in Eastern Africa
  60. Dominica: Located in Caribbean
  61. Dominican Republic/Dominicana, Republica: Located in Caribbean
  62. East Timor (Timor-Leste)/Timor: Located in South-East Asia
  63. Ecuador: Located in South America
  64. Egypt/Misr: Located in Northern Africa
  65. El Salvador: Located in Central America
  66. Equatorial Guinea/Guinea Ecuatorial: Located in Central Africa
  67. Eritrea/Hagere Ertra: Located in Eastern Africa
  68. Estonia/Eesti Vabariik: Located in Northern Europe
  69. Ethiopia/Ityop’iya: Located in Eastern Africa
  70. Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas: Located in Southern South America
  71. Faroe Islands/Foroyar: Located in Northern Europe
  72. Fiji: Located in Melanesia, Oceania
  73. Finland/Suomen Tasavalta: Located in Northern Europe
  74. France: Located in Western Europe
  75. French Guiana/Guyane: Located in Northern South America
  76. French Polynesia/Polynésie Française: Located in Polynesia, Oceania
  77. Gabon: Located in Central Africa
  78. Gambia /The Gambia: Located in West Africa
  79. Georgia /Sak’art’velo: Located in Western Asia
  80. Germany/Deutschland: Located in Western Europe
  81. Ghana: Located in West Africa
  82. Gibraltar: Located in Southern Europe
  83. Great Britain: Located in Northern Europe
  84. Greece/Ellas or Ellada: Located in Southern Europe
  85. Greenland/Kalaallit Nunaat: Located in North America
  86. Grenada: Located in Caribbean
  87. Guadeloupe: Located in Caribbean
  88. Guam: Located in Micronesia, Oceania
  89. Guatemala: Located in Central America
  90. Guinea/Guinee: Located in West Africa
  91. Guinea-Bissau/Guine-Bissau: Located in West Africa
  92. Guyana: Located in Northern South America
  93. Haiti: Located in Caribbean
  94. Honduras: Located in Central America
  95. Hong Kong/Xianggang: Located in Eastern Asia
  96. Hungary/Magyarorszag: Located in Eastern Europe
  97. Iceland/Lyoveldio Island : Located in Northern Europe
  98. India/Bharat: Located in South-Central Asia
  99. Indonesia: Located in South-East Asia
  100. Iran (Islamic Republic of) : Located in South-Central Asia
  101. Iraq: Located in Middle East
  102. Ireland/Éire: Located in Northern Europe
  103. Israel/Yisra’el: Located in Middle East
  104. Italy/Italia: Located in Southern Europe
  105. Jamaica : Located in Caribbean
  106. Japan/Nippon: Located in Eastern Asia
  107. Jordan/Al Urdun: Located in Middle East
  108. Kazakhstan/Qazaqstan: Located in Central Asia
  109. Kenya: Located in Eastern Africa
  110. Kiribati/Kiribas: Located in Micronesia, Oceania
  111. Korea, Democratic People’s Rep. (North Korea)/Choson: Located in Eastern Asia
  112. Korea, Republic of (South Korea)/Han-guk: Located in Eastern Asia
  113. Kosovo/Kosova ou Kosovë/Косово: Located in Southern Europe
  114. Kuwait/Al Kuwayt: Located in Middle East
  115. Kyrgyzstan/Kyrgyz Respublikasy: Located in Central Asia
  116. Laos, People’s Democratic Republic/Laos: Located in South-East Asia
  117. Latvia/Latvija: Located in Northern Europe
  118. Lebanon/Lubnan: Located in Middle East
  119. Lesotho : Located in Southern Africa
  120. Liberia: Located in West Africa
  121. Libya/Libiyah: Located in Northern Africa
  122. Liechtenstein: Located in Western Europe
  123. Lithuania/Lietuva: Located in Northern Europe
  124. Luxembourg/Letzebuerg: Located in Western Europe
  125. Macau/Aomen: Located in Eastern Asia
  126. Macedonia, Rep. of/Makedonija: Located in Southern Europe
  127. Madagascar: Located in Eastern Africa
  128. Malawi: Located in Eastern Africa
  129. Malaysia: Located in Southeast Asia
  130. Maldives/Dhivehi Raajje: Located in South-Central Asia
  131. Mali: Located in West Africa
  132. Malta: Located in Southern Europe
  133. Marshall Islands: Located in Micronesia, Oceania
  134. Martinique: Located in Caribbean
  135. Mauritania/Muritaniyah: Located in West Africa
  136. Mauritius: Located in Eastern Africa
  137. Mayotte: Located in Eastern Africa
  138. Mexico/Estados Unidos Mexicanos: Located in North America
  139. Micronesia, Federal States of/Micronesia: Located in Micronesia, Oceania
  140. Moldova, Republic of/Moldova: Located in Eastern Europe
  141. Monaco: Located in Southern Europe
  142. Mongolia/Mongol Uls: Located in Eastern Asia
  143. Montenegro/Crna Gora: Located in Southern Europe
  144. Montserrat: Located in Caribbean
  145. Morocco/Al Maghrib: Located in Northern Africa
  146. Mozambique/Mocambique: Located in Eastern Africa
  147. Myanmar, Burma/Myanma Naingngandaw: Located in Southeast Asia
  148. Namibia: Located in Southern Africa
  149. Nauru: Located in Micronesia, Oceania
  150. Nepal: Located in South-Central Asia
  151. Netherlands/Nederland/Holland: Located in Western Europe
  152. Netherlands Antilles/Nederlandse Antillen: Located in Caribbean
  153. New Caledonia/Nouvelle-Calédonie: Located in Melanesia, Oceania
  154. New Zealand/Aotearoa: Located in Oceania
  155. Nicaragua: Located in Central America
  156. Niger: Located in West Africa
  157. Nigeria: Located in West Africa
  158. Niue: Located in Polynesia, Oceania
  159. Northern Mariana Islands: Located in Micronesia, Oceania
  160. Norway/Norge: Located in Northern Europe
  161. Oman/Saltanat Uman: Located in Middle East
  162. Pakistan: Located in South-Central Asia
  163. Palau/Belau: Located in Micronesia, Oceania
  164. Palestinian territories/Filastin: Located in Middle East
  165. Panama: Located in Central America
  166. Papua New Guinea/Papua Niu Gini: Located in Melanesia, Oceania
  167. Paraguay: Located in Central South America
  168. Peru: Located in Western South America
  169. Philippines/Pilipinas: Located in Southeast Asia
  170. Pitcairn Island: Located in Polynesia, Oceania
  171. Poland/Polska: Located in Eastern Europe
  172. Portugal: Located in Southern Europe
  173. Puerto Rico: Located in Caribbean
  174. Qatar/Dawlat Qatar: Located in Middle East
  175. Reunion Island/Ile de la Réunion: Located in Eastern Africa
  176. Romania: Located in Eastern Europe
  177. Russian Federation/Rossiya: Located in Eastern Europe – Northern Asia
  178. Rwanda : Located in Eastern Africa
  179. Saint Kitts and Nevis: Located in Caribbean
  180. Saint Lucia: Located in Caribbean
  181. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Located in Caribbean
  182. Samoa: Located in Polynesia, Oceania
  183. San Marino: Located in Southern Europe/Italy
  184. Sao Tome and Principe/Sao Tome e Principe: Located in Central Africa
  185. Saudi Arabia/Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah: Located in Middle East
  186. Senegal: Located in West Africa
  187. Serbia/Srbija: Located in Southern Europe
  188. Seychelles: Located in Eastern Africa
  189. Sierra Leone: Located in West Africa
  190. Singapore: Located in Southeast Asia
  191. Slovakia (Slovak Republic)/Slovensko: Located in Eastern Europe
  192. Slovenia/Slovenija: Located in Southern Europe
  193. Solomon Islands: Located in Melanesia, Oceania
  194. Somalia : Located in Eastern Africa
  195. South Africa: Located in Southern Africa
  196. South Sudan: Located in East-Central Africa
  197. Spain/España: Located in Southern Europe
  198. Sri Lanka: Located in South-Central Asia
  199. Sudan: Located in Northern Africa
  200. Suriname: Located in North-Eastern South America
  201. Swaziland: Located in Southern Africa
  202. Sweden /Sverige: Located in Northern Europe
  203. Switzerland/Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera: Located in Western Europe
  204. Syria, Syrian Arab Republic/Suriyah: Located in Middle East
  205. Taiwan (Republic of China)/T’ai-wan: Located in Eastern Asia
  206. Tajikistan/Jumhurii Tojikiston: Located in Central Asia
  207. Tanzania; officially the United Republic of Tanzania/Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania: Located in Eastern Africa
  208. Thailand/Prathet Thai: Located in South-East Asia
  209. Tibet/Bod: Located in South-Central Asia
  210. Togo/Republique Togolaise: Located in West Africa
  211. Tokelau : Located in Oceania
  212. Tonga: Located in Polynesia, Oceania
  213. Trinidad and Tobago: Located in Northern South America, Caribbean
  214. Tunisia/Tunis: Located in Northern Africa
  215. Turkey/Turkiye: Located in Southeastern Europe
  216. Turkmenistan: Located in Central Asia
  217. Turks and Caicos Islands : Located in Caribbean
  218. Tuvalu: Located in Polynesia, Oceania
  219. Uganda: Located in Eastern Africa
  220. Ukraine /Ukrayina: Located in Eastern Europe
  221. United Arab Emirates/Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah: Located in Middle East
  222. United Kingdom: Located in Northern Europe
  223. United States: Located in North America
  224. Uruguay/Republica Oriental del Uruguay: Located in Central East South America
  225. Uzbekistan/Uzbekiston Respublikasi: Located in Central Asia
  226. Vanuatu: Located in Melanesia, Oceania
  227. Vatican City State (Holy See)/Status Civitatis Vaticanæ: Located in Southern Europe/Italy/Rome
  228. Venezuela: Located in Northern South America
  229. Vietnam/Viet Nam: Located in South-East Asia
  230. Virgin Islands (British): Located in Caribbean
  231. Virgin Islands (U.S.) : Located in Caribbean
  232. Wallis and Futuna Islands/Wallis et Futuna: Located in Polynesia, Oceania
  233. Western Sahara /Aṣ-Ṣaḥrā’ al-Gharbīyah: Located in Northern Africa
  234. Yemen/Al Yaman: Located in Middle East
  235. Zambia: Located in Eastern Africa
  236. Zimbabwe: Located in Eastern Africa

Want to Contribute a page about your country? Please complete use the form below.

Criminal Justice Law Seeks article submissions.

Our mission is to help improve the criminal justice and law system. We believe that vigorous debate is the best way to improve the system. We further believe that opposing views stimulate discussion and lead to progress.

For this reason, we welcome all views.

We know that many of our readers are enrolled in Criminal Justice and Law programs, are recent graduates, or are entering a University program soon. If you have essays from college you would like to add to this site, we would love to include them. 

We Are Especially Seeking Pages from Police Agencies

One goal is to complete the Police Agencies Listings pages. There are nearly 20,000 police organizations in the United States. We are trying to develop a single resource for law enforcement students so would really appreciate it if police departments could complete the page for their organization. 

Once the page is complete, it can be uploaded in .doc format. Feel free to use either the standard word processor and include images and links in the document where you want them to appear. Alternately, create the doc in html and we will add it to the site unaltered.

Thank you for your help.

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