International Development Law Organization

Building Judicial Capacity

Efficient, equitable and accessible justice systems are the lifeblood of the rule of law. For many years, building judicial capacity in the developing world was IDLO's sole area of intervention.

Today, while our mission and expertise has greatly expanded, we remain faithful to that early purpose. Building capacity in the judiciary is still the bulk of what we do, and what we are most recognized for. We do this in a variety of legal systems and traditions, working with local and international partners, with a strong emphasis on transition societies.

In the words of Kyrgyz Supreme Court Chair and IDLO interlocutor Feruza Z. Djumasheva, "Without successful judicial reforms, there will be no economic or social reform."

Strong dispute resolution system key to 2017 Kenya elections

Press release: (Nairobi, Kenya) May 4, 2017 – As five countries in Africa, including Kenya, gear up for general elections later this year, a new report published today by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) highlights the need for a strong judicial electoral dispute resolution mechanism.

“As a contest for political power, elections by their nature invite disputes. Effective electoral dispute resolution is therefore key to preventing electoral violence and ensuring legitimacy of the results,” said Ms. Irene Khan, IDLO Director-General.

IDLO Director-General to visit Kenya to discuss electoral justice and gender equality

Media Advisory: Interview Availability. Nairobi, April 27, 2017 - The Director-General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) will visit Kenya from May 3 to 5, 2017 to discuss electoral justice, gender equality and the rule of law with representatives of the Government of the Republic of Kenya, the judiciary, the legislative, diplomatic community, civil society and the women’s movement.

Lessons Learned Brief - Avoiding Violence and Enhancing Legitimacy: Judicial Preparedness for Handling Electoral Disputes in Kenya and Beyond

The Brief (or Lessons Learned Brief), titled Avoiding Violence and Enhancing Legitimacy: Judicial Preparedness for Handling Electoral Disputes in Kenya and Beyond, explores IDLO’s support to the Kenyan judiciary to resolve electoral disputes. The 2007 electoral violence in Kenya demonstrated that disastrous consequences can follow when the electoral dispute resolution system is not trusted to deal fairly and efficiently with contested elections.

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Key Initiatives

  • Croatia has eight first instance commercial courts and one High Commercial Court, and is committed to raising the capacity of its commercial court judges to resolve cases related to insolvency matters. The Judicial Training Academy has incorporated insolvency training into its annual program almost every year since 2010. However, there is still more progress to be made, especially regarding impediments to the resolution of non-performing loans which highlights the importance of the legal framework on insolvency law.

  • The economy and banking sectors of Tajikistan face a number of factors affecting the country’s business environment, including high interest rates and weak enforcement. At the core of the banking crisis is the fact that banks do not use the judiciary to support the enforcement of contracts. This in turn affects the construction sector, which, despite the challenging banking environment, is experiencing considerable growth. The justice system in its current condition is not able to address the construction sector disputes that inevitably surface as the sector expands.

  • Over a decade has passed since the end of conflict in Liberia, but incidence of sexual and gender-based violence has not diminished. Numerous studies reveal an extremely high prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence. According to an IDLO study, in 2015 1396 cases were reported to the Montserrado five one-stop clinics alone. Among those cases, 267 were reported to the Women’s and Children’s Protection Section within the Liberia National Police, 119 received an indictment, while only 3 cases went through to trial.

  • The Programmatic Framework for the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund builds on Indonesian development plans and continues the efforts of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta to support the consolidation of the rule of law and reform agenda. The primary objective of the Rule of Law Fund is to support the development of effective, accountable and inclusive justice sector institutions, ensuring equal access to justice in Indonesia.

  • A strong regime of intellectual property (IP) law is crucial for fostering increased investment and innovation in key sectors of the economy. In recent years Tunisia has focused on building and implementing a policy for attracting foreign investment. Following the adoption of the new constitution, many laws regulating the economy were revised and a new investment code was adopted. The Tunisian government has also strengthened the legal framework for protecting IP, by acceding to the majority of treaties relating to IP and passing several laws on these matters.

  • The Court Department under the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic currently lacks a managerial and institutional strategy necessary to address increasing commercial litigation turnover and legal preparedness among bailiffs, which undermines the credibility and functionality of the judicial system. Despite the progress achieved by the judicial system in improving its commercial law capacity, enforcement of judicial decisions remains a hindrance to an effective commercial dispute resolution framework.

  • The Brief (or Lessons Learned Brief), titled Avoiding Violence and Enhancing Legitimacy: Judicial Preparedness for Handling Electoral Disputes in Kenya and Beyond, explores IDLO’s support to the Kenyan judiciary to resolve electoral disputes. The 2007 electoral violence in Kenya demonstrated that disastrous consequences can follow when the electoral dispute resolution system is not trusted to deal fairly and efficiently with contested elections.

  • The Constitution of Kenya requires the Government to facilitate access to justice for all citizens, as it remains a critical pillar for poverty reduction and sustainable development. To this end, IDLO has been supporting the Kenyan judiciary since April 2012 to strengthen its capacity to administer and enhance access to justice for all Kenyans.

  • As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluation Brief for the project, "Enhancing the Capacity of the Legal Professional in Somalia for the Delivery of Justice". The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit.

  • Since the Maidan Revolution of 2013-2014, Ukraine has worked to reform the judiciary, including the judgement enforcement system for commercial matters. As in many transition countries, non-enforcement of commercial court decisions in Ukraine remains a key problem, affecting not only investor confidence, but also the functioning of the entire judiciary.

  • Despite significant donor assistance and a marked improvement over the past decade, Afghanistan's justice institutions still suffer from a severe lack of capacity across a range of basic competencies. These deficiencies persist due to a variety of factors, including the high turnover of staff in justice sector institutions and a lack of focus on developing the internal capacity of institutions to manage their own professional development.

  • The criminal justice system in the Philippines experiences poor coordination among agencies, particularly police and prosecutors. Currently, there is a shortage of prosecutors to take criminal cases to trial in the Department of Justice (DOJ), and many of those who serve on behalf of the people require support in order to perform their duties with a high level of necessary knowledge, skills and ethics.

  • Tajikistan’s enforcement framework and practice is considered to be the poorest in the region according to an assessment by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).  Non-enforcement and lengthy delays of court decisions, particularly with regards to commercial matters, is a significant problem which affects investor confidence and, as a result, economic indicators.

  • IDLO has been working with the Kyrgyz Judiciary to support the establishment of a functional, credible and transparent legal system, since the adoption of the 2010 Constitution. Despite many positive developments, the rule of law sector has faced a number of problems – chief among them inadequate financing, which risks undermining judicial independence and makes access to justice a challenge, as well as transparency and accountability.

  • In recent years, following a growth spur which made it the fastest growing economy in the world, Mongolia has experienced rapid economic and social downturn. Although the years of growth yielded wealth and investment, the country was unable to prepare for a recession due to corruption, inflation, distortion of the local economy and environmental degradation. One of the key obstacles to sustainable growth and development is the weak and poorly prepared judiciary.

  • Mongolia’s rapid economic and social growth over the last few years is threatened by low-quality and unenforced court decisions. Despite a series of judicial reforms launched by the Government, Mongolia still lacks the legislative framework necessary to enforce court decisions or a strategy to address a growing caseload. Moreover, bailiffs’ inadequate legal knowledge and skills weaken the credibility and efficiency of the judiciary system and impede its proper functioning.

  • Terrorism trials in Somalia have overwhelmingly been conducted in military courts under military laws that do not afford rights to the accused as enshrined in international human rights law or the Somali Provisional Constitution. Recognizing the weakness of the current system and the security threat posed by Somalia’s overloaded prison capacity, the Government of Somalia has decided to move the bulk of the current serious crimes caseload and all future caseloads to the civilian criminal court system.

  • IDLO is supporting the training departments of the Myanmar Union Attorney General’s Office (UAGO) and the Office of the Supreme Court of the Union (OSCU) to strengthen their capacity development strategies. The long-term goal is to help justice sector institutions implement their strategic priorities of modernizing training programs by improving the knowledge, skills and abilities of judges, law officers and court staff, and enhancing their professional development.

  • As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluation Brief (summarised evaluation report): “Commercial Law Judicial Capacity Building in Mongolia”. The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit.

  • As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluation Brief (summarised evaluation report):  “Enhancing the Capacity of the Judiciary of South Sudan”. The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit. This exercise utilized a theory-driven, mixed-method approach, in line with the IDLO Evaluation Guidelines and OECD DAC standards.

  • Mongolia has formally joined IDLO,  the latest stage in an expanding partnership for the advancement the rule of law. The  first communist-ruled nation outside the Soviet Union, Mongolia has over the last two decades built a democracy that is untypical of its region. But for all the efforts of its political class and civil society, it has some way to go to improve governance, enhance access to justice, and reduce inequality.

  • Unless it boosts capacity in commercial law, Mongolia risks discouraging inward investment, not least in the vital mining sector. To avoid this happening, IDLO has been working with Mongolia's Supreme Court and Judicial General Council to improve the courts' ability to apply commercial law.  In particular, we have ensured that 24 Mongolian judges are equipped to train their peers in areas such as mining disputes, intellectual property and competition law.

  • Mongolia’s investment climate is chronically undermined by poor enforcement of rulings. In an effort to improve the enforcement rate, IDLO has been helping strengthen the Mongolian General Executive Agency of Court Decisions by  building the capacity of more than 200 bailiffs (12 of them bailiffs-trainers) in areas including sale and seizure of property, mediation and international arbitration, and conflict management.

  • IDLO has concentrated its efforts on the city of Mopti. As well as an important commercial center and Mali's country's main port, Mopti forms both the geographic and symbolic link between the country's North and South. During the conflict, it served as a frontline destination for displaced people.

  • Following the April 2010 Revolution in the Kyrgyz Republic, an interim government came to power promising to end many of the injustices that had prompted the overthrow of the country’s previous two presidents. Many reforms carried out during the interim period were focused on improving the foundation and application of the rule of law. Despite initial steps made towards progress in this area, the political events of 2010, including ethnic violence, significantly undermined potential progress in the rule of law.

  • As a long-term partner of the College of Law at the University of Juba, IDLO helped align the teaching system with South Sudan's new legal context and regional standards. With the majority of its justice sector professionals educated in Islamic/civil law, South Sudan faces the dual task of increasing its overall population of qualified legal professionals and simultaneously retraining practicing lawyers and prosecutors.

  • As Yemen launched its democratic transformation, its judiciary requested IDLO’s technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of new and sitting judges and staff. Working with the High Judicial Institute in Sana’a, we have helped officials train new judges, by providing technical guidance to draft and update the Institute’s curriculum, while delivering training sessions on commercial and maritime law.

  • IDLO is working with the Ministry of Justice to develop training methodology and curricula for both general and specialized, skills-based courses for Ministry of Justice public prosecutors, legal counsels and public and private lawyers, and members of civil society organizations. By developing legal training materials for justice professionals and working to establish a pool of qualified national trainers to engage in future legal training activities, IDLO is supporting the establishment of a Legal Training Institute.

  • With a reliable justice system, the Judiciary of South Sudan plays a vital role to secure lasting peace and stability in South Sudan. To this end, IDLO is working with the Judiciary of South Sudan to enhance the capacity of judges, judicial support staff and judicial assistants in procedural, substantive legal subjects and English language skills. This capacity building serves to improve the quality and delivery of judicial services in line with the country’s laws and international standards.

  • IDLO has been assisting the Ministry of Justice in developing a framework to enshrine the rule of law. In particular, we collaborated with the Ministry, the judiciary and other institutions to develop of a two-year Justice Sector Action Plan. The initiative was designed to help strengthen institutional capacity lay the foundations for a sustainable and effective justice system.

  • IDLO has been working with the government of Kyrgyzstan to establish a functional, credible and transparent legal system since the adoption of the 2010 Constitution.

    Despite many positive developments over the last four years, the rule of law sector continues to face problems; inadequate financing risks undermining judicial independence and makes access to justice a challenge.

  • Launched in March 2013 in partnership with the Afghan government, the Justice Training Transition Program (JTTP) offers justice professionals unprecedented levels of training in core legal skills and competencies. It provides continuing education courses on Afghan law to provincial courts, the Ministry of Justice and other government bodies. By far our most ambitious program anywhere, JTTP also provides criminal justice training and mentoring for Afghan prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys and investigators.

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