In Part 1 of this series, the authors discuss people-centred justice focusing on those served by courts instead of those who “run” them – judicial officers, court administrators, and other officials. This is the first of a two-part article that discusses the role of technology in achieving this focus, published originally in The Court Administrator of the International Association for Court Administration.
What is people-centred justice?
People-centred justice is an approach to international justice that shifts the focus from court rules, procedures, and processes to a results-based focus placing people, families, and communities at the centre of justice service delivery. This requires court administrators to go beyond identifying operational improvements that work best for them, and identify what strategies, activities, and processes produce the best results for the people they serve.
There is today no longer much doubt whether good measures and indicators of court performance can help achieve worthy ends. The question is whose vision of justice and court excellence they advance. Performance standards and measures for courts are meaningless if they are detached from the people they are intended to represent. Though they may be grounded in historical understanding, democratic vision, and civic ideals, government performance measures are traditionally developed from the perspectives of government managers, not of citizens, and the two perspectives may differ greatly.
How Rwanda achieves this?
Rwanda is a regional leader in people-centered justice, with a strong and developing culture of Performance Measurement and Management. This has been achieved through a strategic planning process based on country vision, international standards, and the expectations of the Rwandan people. It has been enabled through the implementation of advanced technology for data collection, analysis, and reporting, as well as a learning culture that quickly adapts and applies lessons learned.
In the article, the authors identify key approaches, based on their experience in Rwanda and elsewhere, that will align the practice of court performance measurement and management with the values and principles of people-centred justice.
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