What is the role of legal and judicial reform in the development process?

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.