Justice sector benchmarks: a users' guide for civil society organizations

From 2006 to 2011 I have contributed to a project of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative - together with various experts - on the development of a users' guide justice sector benchmarks. This guide is a practical reference document for civil society organizations aiming at the monitoring or evaluation of the work of the judiciary.

Based on pilot projects implemented by civil society organizations from the Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria and expert meetings with judges, lawyers and law professors, four main principles for a proper legal system were identified:

  • Judicial independence
  • Fair process and access to justice
  • Judicial system effectiveness
  • Competent, qualified and accountable judicial system

The several areas of measurement of the four benchmarks are described in more detail in the following graph. Based on international experiences an practices these areas of measurements are applicable to the majority of the legal systems in the world.

For each of the principles several areas of measurement are being defined and methods for evaluations described. For example the use of surveys, court observation studies, case file analysis and legal research. Moreover relevant international legal standards are included in the guide too. For implementing the benchmarks six steps can be followed:

For civil society organizations working in the justice area with a need for practical assistance for monitoring and evaluation the guide offers an excellent help.










©2014 Pim Albers