LEGAL & JUDICIAL REFORM

 

Agriteam is working in Europe and South East Asia to promote the rule of law and improve access to justice. We provide advice and support to government partners, such as Justice Ministries and the judiciary; lead multi-stakeholder public policy dialogues; and create opportunities for information sharing and learning about best practices and similar reform experiences around the world.

We engage technical experts to assist in developing strategic directions, polices and related legal and regulatory frameworks to support reforms in accordance with international legal and human rights standards. We also support stakeholders, including the judiciary, other legal professionals and extra-judicial service providers, in designing and delivering training plans and materials.

 

OUR EXPERTISE INCLUDES:

  • Drafting and implementation of legislative and regulatory frameworks
  • Judicial and court reform
  • Training of judges and court officers
  • Support to law enforcement institutions
  • Public legal education and legal aid
  • Promotion and protection of human rights
  • Development of legal professionals
  • Access to justice, particularly for poor and marginalized communities including women, children and youth.

Agriteam’s legal and judicial reform projects have strengthened the capacity of judges and courts to apply new practices and incorporate international standards related to the rights of women and children.

OUR LEGAL & JUDICIAL REFORM PORTFOLIO HIGHLIGHTS

UKRAINE: Expert Deployment for Governance and Economic Growth (EDGE) (Global Affairs Canada, 2014 – 2019)
The Expert Deployment for Governance and Economic Growth (EDGE) project is helping Ukraine move towards a democratic and prosperous society by advancing citizen-centered democracy and promoting sustainable economic growth. Working with the Minister and Deputy Ministers of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT), Agriteam is providing managerial and technical support in developing, implementing and communicating strategic plans for governance reform and economic growth. EDGE is designed to target key issues in Ukraine’s economy, including promoting foreign direct investment and trade, improving the business enabling environment including promoting citizen participation, strengthening government collaboration and communication, reducing corruption and promoting transparency, and improving SME development. To date, EDGE has conducted needs analyses and identified gaps in capacity with the Ministries of Economic Development and Trade, Finance, Agrarian Policy and Food, and the National Reform Council’s Project Management Office, leading to the development of 15 sector and sub-sector strategy and action plans for reform.
UKRAINE: Juvenile Justice Reform Project (UJJRP) (Global Affairs Canada, 2007 – 2017)
In support of the Government of Ukraine’s long-term goal of improving the country’s juvenile justice system, activities under UJJRP are aimed at reducing the level of juvenile crime and developing a more effective system of justice for young people. Agriteam is working with the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice to develop the necessary legislative and policy frameworks for a more effective and responsive youth justice system in line with international standards, as well as supporting youth rehabilitation and reintegration into their communities. It aims to strengthen the capacity of Ukraine’s public institutions – including the judiciary and other key justice agencies and civil society organizations – to develop and deliver more effective juvenile justice programs focused on prevention and rehabilitation instead of punishment. Prior to UJJRP, juveniles in Ukraine were charged as adults without recourse to rehabilitative programming, conditional sentencing, or other similar measures. As a direct result of the project, a Law on Probation was passed in 2015, marking an historic development in Ukraine’s judicial system.
CHINA: Policy Options Project (POP) (Global Affairs Canada, 2005 –2014)
The Policy Operations Project (POP) was an eight-year governance initiative designed to support the Government of China’s policy reform agenda and contributes to improved public sector services in China. Phase 1 of POP (2005-2010) focused on human rights, democratic development, good governance and the environment. Phase 2 (2010-2014) focused on ethnic minority rights, labour rights and rule of law. The purpose of POP was to build the capacity of Chinese policy makers to formulate and implement policies that contribute to sustainable development, and also to improve the monitoring and evaluation of measureable, tangible outcomes. This was achieved through exchanges of ideas, experiences and expertise with Canadian policy makers and Canadian Expert Resources sourced from Agriteam’s extensive network of Canadian expertise. This network includes Canadian partner organizations contracted to implement sub-projects in China POP.

Over the life of the project, 45 sub-projects were selected to receive funding. As a result of China POP interventions, over 64 policy studies were completed, 10 new policy implementation strategies were introduced, and 38 new policies were adopted. In addition to mainstreaming gender equality into all of its sub-projects, China POP also supported two policy initiatives directly supporting women: the Policy Framework for the Establishment of the National Women Education and Training System was developed and implemented, and the Chinese Maternity Insurance Law (Jan 1, 2012) expanded the scope of coverage of maternity insurance and benefits by broadening the category of employers that are required to provide coverage.

VIETNAM: Judicial Development and Grassroots Engagement (JUDGE) (Global Affairs Canada, 2006 – 2013)
In the process of transitioning from a centrally-planned economy to a market economy, Vietnam has undergone a parallel process of large-scale judicial reform and institutional improvement in the last 20 years. In support of this transition, Agriteam partnered with the Vietnam’s Supreme People’s Court and Ministry of Justice to strengthen and modernize the Vietnamese justice system, promote citizen’s access to the courts, and foster more transparent and accountable governance. The key objectives of JUDGE were three-fold: 1) professional training for judicial personnel in line with international standards and principles, 2) improved efficiency through administrative/procedural reform, and 3) improved dispute resolution and dissemination of legal information to citizens.

To meet these objectives, Agriteam employed a variety of innovative solutions including the use of select pilot courts to test administrative reforms. These reforms are now being included in the recent amendments to the Vietnam Civil Procedure Code (2015), which provides the legal framework to have them instituted in all courts across Vietnam. Further innovations led by Agriteam included support to the Ministry of Justice to develop mechanisms for public engagement in the legislative drafting process, as well as partnering with the National Judicial Institute of Canada to facilitate judge-led, peer-to-peer judicial training programs. Lastly, the development of national legislative and judicial standards of consistency resulted in improved efficiency and fairness in court proceedings, and enhanced public consultation on draft legislation and dissemination of new legislation improved public understanding and acceptance of legal reforms.

AFGHANISTAN: Joint Electoral Management Body and Legal Counsel (United Nations, 2005)
Agriteam was appointed by the Special Representative of the United Nations’ Secretary General as one of four International Commissioners on the Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) to oversee the parliamentary elections held on September 18, 2005, in Afghanistan. As legal counsel to the JEMB, Agriteam was responsible for managing the legal staff at the JEMB, drafting the 2005 Elections Law that set in place policies and procedures for the nomination process and candidate selection leading to the establishment of the first elected National Parliament (Wolesi Jirga) and the Upper House (Meshrano Jirga) as well as 34 Provincial Councils. Highlights of the legislation included the entrenchment of one quarter of the seats for women and the creation of an Electoral Complaints Commission and a Media Complaints Commission. We were also responsible for establishing all regulations and procedures related to the conduct of the election, including candidate nomination, voter registration, polling day and counting procedures