The dominant developmental democratisation literature is limited by its focus on developing countries, and relatively circumscribed explanation of how democratisation occurs. In response to these limitations, the paper offers an alternative conception of democracy, drawing upon the political process model. Here, democracy is a regime establishing a set of legal relationships between government and subjects. Those relationships feature participation and protection which are relatively broad, equal, categorical and binding. Democratisation, in turn, refers to the movement towards these legal relationships. The model addresses gaps in the dominant democratisation literature by providing a theory applicable to developing countries and well-established democracies, as well as explaining how democratisation occurs in the legal context.