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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."

IDLO Director-General, Jan Beagle's Statement at the Joint Conference of the East African Chief Justices’ forum and the East African Judicial Education Committee

Statement by the Director-General, Jan Beagle at the Joint Conference of the East African Chief Justices’ Forum and the East African Judicial Education Committee

Honourable Chief Justices,

Members of the East African Judiciaries,

Distinguished Guests,

Enhancing the Capacity of Justice Institutions to Deliver Justice in Somalia

Lack of good governance and the rule of law are one of the most pressing problems confronting modern Somalia on its path towards stability and reconstruction. While there have been signs of progress, the absence of robust and competent institutions has contributed to a climate of insecurity and impunity. Several assessments of the justice system in Somalia have found that judges and prosecutors lack of adequate skills to effectively administer criminal trials in line with Somali laws and procedures, particularly with respect to safeguarding the rights of the accused.

Supporting Criminal Justice Sector Reform in Ukraine Phase IV

Despite reform efforts undertaken by the Government of Ukraine after the Maidan Revolution in 2014, Ukrainian citizens continue to regard criminal justice stakeholders with deep distrust. In 2019, the presidential and snap parliamentary elections resulted in a shift of the political environment, creating an opportunity to meaningfully advance anti-corruption reforms.

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Key Initiatives

  • Even the best functioning courts, without effective mechanisms for ensuring compliance with their   decisions, are in effect perceived as weak institutions, leading to an erosion of public confidence in the rule of law as a whole.
  • In April 2018, the Republic of Armenia adopted a new version of the Civil Procedure Code with the aim to expedite cases and increase the efficiency of civil courts. As in most transition countries, implementation of the law by courts and officials is weak and uneven. The judiciary needs to become familiarized with the new Civil Procedure Code and its application within a limited timeframe. Hence, it is critical that judges have a firm grasp of the newly adopted rules, especially related to commercial disputes.
  • Serbia has recently implemented several judicial reforms to modernize and improve the regulatory framework for mediation, such as the new Law on Mediation in 2014. By implementing the new legal framework on mediation, the number of registered mediators and of mediation cases in Serbia have both increased. However, the Supreme Court of Cassation still registers an excessive amount of backlogged cases.
  • Until recently, court processes in the Kyrgyz Republic have not been automated. Manual or paper systems still are required and are the norm although automating all processes has started very actively. According the country’s National Target Program for Development of the Judiciary, automated information systems need to be expanded and rolled out to the whole judicial system, not only within all first instance courts, but also second and third instance courts.
  • In Indonesia, with its civil law system, many scholars believe that lecturers do not have any obligation to use case law or jurisprudence, including among judges. This causes stagnant development of the law both in practice and theory. Therefore, integrating case law into education will not only be beneficial to both student and lecturer, but also for the judges so they can employ better consideration when making their decisions or verdicts.
  • Strengthening the capacity of prosecutors, judges and lawyers in Rwanda in international criminal law is both important and timely. Over two decades after Rwanda’s genocide, the number of cases extradited and transferred from other countries to Rwanda continues to increase. Given that international criminal law is a complex and evolving field, prosecutors who appear in Transfer cases would benefit from skills allowing them to more accurately and effectively research and apply the latest judicial precedents.
  • Although Myanmar is a Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children in the country still suffer disproportionate risks of early marriage, sexual exploitation, trafficking, neglect and abuse. In order to address these challenges, in 2019, the parliament passed a new Child Rights Law which covers all aspects of a child’s life, including health, education, juvenile justice, children in armed conflict and alternative care arrangements. However, there is still a need to develop rules to guide the law’s implementation.
  • Lack of good governance and the rule of law are one of the most pressing problems confronting modern Somalia on its path towards stability and reconstruction. While there have been signs of progress, the absence of robust and competent institutions has contributed to a climate of insecurity and impunity. Several assessments of the justice system in Somalia have found that judges and prosecutors lack of adequate skills to effectively administer criminal trials in line with Somali laws and procedures, particularly with respect to safeguarding the rights of the accused.
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