Judicial and Court Reform

Courts in postconflict states may have been destroyed or be severally dilapidated after years of conflict. Moreover, courts and judiciaries may be lacking in very basic resources, such as pens and paper, or in human resources, especially if judicial and court personnel have fled the conflict or have been implicated in human rights abuses by the former regime and found unsuitable for continued employment.

While the challenges may not be as severe in developing countries as in postconflict countries, courts in both kinds of countries often share a number of similarities: they are poorly resourced; slow, remote, and costly; and irrelevant to the needs of the ordinary person. Judicial and court reform is, therefore, often high on the reform agenda in developing and postconflict countries.

The links below are to general resources on this topic. More specific resources are contained within each of the following nine subdivisions:

Many of the measures discussed within this topic and its subdivisions focus on long-term reform measures. For discussion of short-term measures to rehabilitate courts after conflict, see Immediate Effectiveness of the Justice System.

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