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."

In Court: The Challenge of Commercial Law

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.

Post-Trial: Making Court Decisions Stick

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.

Kyrgyzstan: From Court TV to e-Justice

A herd of cows belonging to Bakyt Azizov has trampled over land belonging to Aybek Isaev. As a result, Mr. Isaev’s future oats harvest has been partly compromised. Mr. Isaev is now claiming from Mr. Azizov 85,600 Kyrgyzstani som (US$ 1,340) in compensation, divided as follows: direct damage – 7,100 som; profit lost – 48,500 som; moral damages – 25,000 som; and lawyer’s fees – 5,000 som.

IDLO's Somalia Work Showcased in DC

IDLO Somalia Country Director Adam-Shirwa Jama told a Washington roundtable hosted by the United States Institute of Peace that reform of the justice system had begun in Somalia. While it would take time for justice institutions to reach the whole of the country, Mr. Jama said, IDLO was encouraged by the international support given to these nascent institutions.

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Key Initiatives

  • 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.
  • In Somalia, alternative justice mechanisms remain the main providers of justice services for lack of formal justice institutions. However, these justice mechanisms can be discriminatory particularly against women, youth and minority clans.
  • Justice within the context of commercial law is premised on the fact that an effective commercial justice system meets and facilitates the specialized needs of the business community and the private sector at large. However, there are persistent challenges related to the dispensation of commercial justice in Kenya.
  • Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, has been devastated by armed conflict since September 2014. The conflict has received limited international coverage and human rights violations and violations under international humanitarian law suffered by the civilian population have been grossly underreported. All parties to the conflict have been linked to serious violations of international law, with inadequate accountability mechanisms in place to ensure justice for victims.
  • In recent years Jordan has taken significant steps toward promoting economic development, including through strengthening rule of law. Judicial specialization in relevant areas, while promoting an enabling environment for capacity development within the relevant judicial institutions is crucial to maximize the impact of those efforts and ensure sustainability. At the same time, attention has been given to encouraging entrepreneurship, in particular women entrepreneurs, as a means to achieve economic growth.
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