A Theory of Change and Concept Note
The approach suggested here is based on three key assumptions derived from knowledge of the specific context of Georgia and our experience of running justice sector reform programmes in other jurisdictions.
Supply and Demand
The first and broadest assumption is that Justice Sector reforms flow most effectively if they combine initiatives that address both supply-side and demand side measures.
By supply side we mean the speed, cost and effectiveness of judicial processes and their delivery to citizens. There have been some significant improvements in the institutional framework of Justice in recent years. In a highly challenging economic environment these improvements are impressive but there remains real problems of judicial independence, backlog of unresolved cases and unevenness of in the recruitment and training of Judges. There may be limits to what outside groups can do to help address these questions but the supply side issues needs to be included in any intervention if it is to succeed. The second supply side assumption is that if the performance of Judges is key to unlocking access to justice, then the reality is that Judges only really like to learn and work with other Judges. After many years’ experience of Justice Sector Reform programmes in many countries, we design all judicial work with this fact in mind. The Peer to Peer network approach is what makes the real difference and a shared experience, mutual learning ethos is what Judges respond to best. We therefore propose here an impact pathway which focuses on two initiatives that address supply side issues. Together they are the smaller component of the overall programme but they are essential.
Supply Side Stakeholders
There are a number of stakeholders we will need to engage with in order to get the access we need to Judges and to recruit the right ones into the Peer to Peer network. The Chief Justice, Ministry of Justice, and key parts of the Prosecutors office. The Chief Justice and the Executive should be engaged to identify those Judges who can be worked with and developed to enhance Judicial performance.
As mentioned there are three key problems that this project seeks to address. Judicial performance in reducing backlog needs further improvement and will improve access to justice for all and access to Justice for vulnerable groups restricted. This access is being restricted by political interference and resources. Prosecutor’s performance needs further measurement and promotion needs to be linked to performance and ethical awareness.
On the basis that Judges learn best from other Judges, we propose to resource inward visits to Georgia and outward trips by key members of the Judiciary. This will entail time away from courts, travel and accommodation expenditure and the professional fees for leading judges who will form a Peer to Peer network with the Georgian Judges. This network once created must be maintained and developed, so there has to be continuous inputs to support knowledge transfer, exchanges and dialogue across the Peer to Peer network. This requires that the judges get out their comfort zones to meet and work with a team of experienced Leadership judges from the UK. Ideally, this visit would be to the UK and then a delegation would come from the UK to Georgia.
The inputs from the international and Georgian team will be delivered through three distinct outputs.
- Peer to peer Judge engagement programme
- UK visit to explore models of judicial training
- Change Management and Training needs assessment with the Prosecutors Office
The design of the first two outputs are based on extensive experience of delivering Justice Sector Reform programmes in Zimbabwe, Bahrain and Oman. The third is based on extensive experience of delivering programmes in Oman and Iraq. The Peer to Peer network will set its own agenda depending on the detailed diagnostic work a the early stage of the project. However, our initial idea is that the focus will be on developing the concept of Leadership Judges as a means of cascading best practice and improving the performance of the Judiciary overall. While this does not address the resource issue head on, it does create a mechanism for sharing whatever is currently working across the system more widely.
Evaluation – during delivery
While these outputs are being developed and delivered the project team will practice a highly responsive form of Real Time evaluation that will check the ideas designed with the key stakeholders against the reality on the ground as it unfolds. This builds into the inception and ethos of the project a problem driven iterative approach that will change and adapt practice and design in response to reality, in for example, moving the location of the study visit or developing a different response to the role of customary law in resolution dispute.
The most important outcome of the project will be enhanced judicial performance and the recommendations for a change management programme in the prosecution service. This aim is for the Judiciary to become more proactive and responsive to the needs of the wider community. This will be achieved if the network of Leadership Judges set standards and spread best practice to their peers. This will be measured by the clearing of backlogs, which in turn will release more resources for new cases and enhance confidence in the system as a whole. A vibrant and internationally connected network of Judges will also improve the overall performance of the Judiciary and inform and improve the performance of the Judicial Service Commission.
Evaluation – after delivery
If these outcomes come about then they should be measurable through the regular evaluations by GRECO.