This speech, delivered by Amartya Sen at the first World Bank conference on Comprehensive Legal and Judicial Development, discusses the importance of legal reform within a comprehensive development framework. Legal reform advances freedom-a crucial and constitutive quality of comprehensive development. Legal reform is thus important on its own; its cause need not be indirectly established through its contribution to economic development. Legal reform is, however, also causally interconnected with other constitutive elements of comprehensive development. By acting as a platform where the poor have equal voice and by creating the backbone of the capitalist system, a sound legal system is necessary to advance political and economic development.