The purpose of this Guide is to support and inform those who are tasked with reforming and strengthening the justice systems of their countries, as well as development partners, international organizations and other providers of technical assistance who provide support to this process.
This Guide draws together ideas, recommendations and strategies developed by contemporary experts on judicial and legal reform, and includes reference to successful measures taken in a range of countries to address particular challenges in strengthening the justice system. Applied researchers and seasoned practitioners have contributed to a large and growing literature addressing judicial reform efforts. Similarly, there are many valuable experiences and good practices from countries operating within a variety of legal contexts that are worthy of consideration across borders. As a result, this Guide brings together a comprehensive set of topics for discussion and strategic thinking in a single volume.
At the same time, this Guide does not seek to cover every aspect related to the reform and strengthening of a country's justice system, nor does it intend to replace the vast array of complementary literature, research and reports that already exist, including those addressing specialized issues such as juvenile justice, pre-trial detention and human rights.To cover every issue that arises in the transformation of a justice system would be an impossible task. Rather, this Guide intends to contribute to the existing literature by providing a guide to target the core areas identified by the expert group as priorities in justice sector reform, and offer recommendations, core ideas and case studies for consideration in the development and implementation of national justice sector actions plans, strategies and reform programmes.
While the Guide seeks to provide a holistic approach to judicial reform, it allows readers to select what parts of a larger agenda are most relevant to them and, at the same time, to see how similar aims have been achieved in other jurisdictions. In so doing, this Guide aspires to avoid a doctrinaire or monolithic approach to justice sector reform based on a single "best" model. Instead, the goal is to contribute to the literature on justice sector reform a targeted and economic focus on the administration of justice from a systemic standpoint, rather then a focus on the quality of legal decisions themselves. An administration of justice led primarily by the courts affects all participants in the legal process, including members of the public and policymakers, through the application of various practices and procedures. These applications touch on a broad set of issues ranging from judicial recruitment and selection practices, to the timeliness of decisions, to the openness and transparency of the process, to the accessibility of these systems for those seeking justice and the protection of their rights. Ultimately, the Guide aims to provide practical information on how to build and maintain an independent, impartial, transparent, effective, efficient and service-oriented justice system that enjoys the confidence of the public and lives up to the expectations contained in relevant international legal instruments,standards and norms.