This resource guide provides information and resources in the area of judicial reform, access to justice, anti-corruption, anti-human trafficking, civics education, and women's rights.
Access to Justice
Judicial reform plays a central role in the efforts of countries around the world to strengthen the rule of law. Judicial reform can include judicial administration, compensation, judicial independence versus accountability, performance evaluation, and judicial selection and retention. This resource guide examines international efforts and guides to study and implement judicial reform strategies.
Braier, Alexander, et al. Making the Case for Judicial Reform: A Unique Approach for Developing and Implementing Judicial Best Practices Around the World. (September 2009). According to this article, failure to focus on the interactions between all components of a nation's judicial system has resulted in disappointing judicial reform outcomes. Only a holistic, systems-based approach to reform can deliver the lasting change necessary.
Access to Justice
Access to justice is perhaps the most essential aspect of judiciaries worldwide. Without the ability to physically access courthouses, understand court proceedings, or obtain legal representation, other efforts to reform and improve the courts matter little. This resource guide examines international efforts to study and improve access to justice. It includes resources on measuring access to justice, barriers to accessibility, and efforts to develop solutions.
Jweied, Maha & Miranda Jolicoeur. Expert Working Group Report: International Perspectives on Indigent Defense. (September 2011). This article aims to consider, on an international level, the costs of being indigent; general improvements to the criminal justice system; improvements for juveniles; special considerations for immigrants; and special considerations for indigenous communities.
An educated citizenry is essential to the principles of fairness and justice. In order for a justice system to be accountable to the people, the people need to be aware of their rights and the limits on judicial power. To that end, civics education aims to create an informed and responsible citizenry committed to the principles of justice and armed with the knowledge necessary to enforce those principles. This resource guide examines international efforts to improve civic education around the world.
Finkel, Steven E. The Impact of Adult Civic Education Programmes in Developing Democracies. (August 2014). This article argues that civic education can have meaningful and long-lasting effects in terms of increasing political information, increasing feelings of empowerment, and mobilizing individuals; but it is unlikely to affect deep-seated democratic values such as political tolerance, support, and trust.
Public trust and confidence in the courts' ability to dole out justice is important to the legitimacy of the judiciary. As such, the struggle for women to gain equal representation on the bench, for fair treatment in proceedings, and to have their rights protected is crucial. This resource guide is divided into two categories: (1) women on the bench, and (2) women's rights. The category of "women on the bench" includes resources and efforts regarding increasing the number of women judges, as well as a collection of associations of women judges. The category of "women's rights" includes resources on women's rights generally, and on the specific issue of access to justice.
Grossman, Nienke. Sex on the Bench: Do Women Judges Matter to the Legitimacy of International Courts? (January 2012). This article explores the relationship between the paucity of women judges and the legitimacy of international courts, arguing that the under-representation of one sex affects the normative legitimacy of international courts because it endangers impartiality and introduces bias.
Almost universally recognized is the importance of the rule of law. One crucial aspect of the rule of law is that the government and its officials and agents be as accountable to the law as private organizations and individuals. Corruption, defined as the use of public power or resources for private gain, is indicative of the extent to which the government and its officials are accountable to the law. Thus, the absence of corruption is central to the rule of law. This resource guide examines international efforts to stem corruption in the judiciary, and provides relevant international and multinational organizations that combat corruption.
Wolf, Mark L. The Case for an International Anti-Corruption Court. (July 2014). In this Brookings Paper, U.S. Federal District Judge Mark Wolf argues for the creation of an international anti-corruption courts that would provide a forum for the enforcement of laws prohibiting corruption that exist in almost every country.
Human trafficking is an issue that affects all regions of the world, and is generally considered a human rights violation. Although prevention is an important aspect of the fight to end human trafficking, prosecution is also important. To that end, courts around the world are or should be working towards learning how to best handle such cases, especially in the absence of any international court responsible for doing so. This resource guide includes studies and suggestions for combating human trafficking through the judiciary.
Enos, Olivia. Human Trafficking Thrives Where Rule of Law Ends. (March 2015). This article argues that poorly trained law enforcement, inadequate legal protections, and corrupt judicial systems are the root of human trafficking across Asia.
NCSC Companion Sites
International Consortium for Court Excellence
Justice Sector Assistance to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative
Juvenile Justice and Alternative Sentencing in Central America