The New Normal for Judicial Reform

After several weeks of focusing on anti-corruption, I am moving onto other projects at ABA ROLI. One of my new assignments involves judicial reform knowledge management, a topic that is very interesting to me. In the past, judicial reform was a sort of stronghold for ABA ROLI—after all, the core of the rule of law is a strong, objective judiciary! However, in recent years enthusiasm has shifted to more holistic rule of law work that focuses on the end user/client instead of the judiciary, and ABA ROLI has adapted its work along with the trend.

Simon, my supervisor, has asked me to compile resources on judicial reform projects, including what kinds of projects are being done around the world, funders’ priorities, and recent publications on best practices. The project is just as Simon described—pulling a thread that just keeps coming and coming! There are so many organizations that do judicial reform projects, so many resources discussing best practices, and so many differing opinions on what funders are interested in these days. After spending a couple of days already just collecting and reading materials, I am only now finding some direction for the assignment.

This assignment is not just important for helping to go out and get grants, but also for knowledge management for the different groups within ABA ROLI. A lot of areas are tangentially related to judicial reform. For example, judicial reform can help to reduce human trafficking issues because courts which are more efficient and better equipped can more easily successfully prosecute traffickers and protects victims/witnesses of trafficking. Because of this, an easily accessible collection of resources will help the whole office. I'm excited to be learning more about such an important part of rule of law work!