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Justice for the Poor Newsletter, March 2012

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MARCH 2012

About Justice for the Poor (J4P)

Justice for the Poor (J4P) is a World Bank program that engages with justice reform as a cross-cutting issue in the practice of development.  Grounded in evidence-based approaches focused on the perspective of the poor and marginalized, the program aims to improve the delivery of justice services and to support sustainable and equitable development processes which manage grievance and conflict stresses effectively.


J4P works in countries across East Asia and Pacific (Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu), as well as in Africa (Sierra Leone, Kenya and Nigeria).  Read more about the J4P program.


Program Highlights


J4P Launches Second Phase of Programming in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste


J4P is entering new phases of programming in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. In Vanuatu, the program will continue to focus on land and natural resource governance with project components that will (1) work to ensure that dealings in land have more equitable and durable outcomes for landholders, (2) support the development of strategies for more participatory and transparent engagement with communities in infrastructure projects and (3) contribute to more inclusive dialogue on urban land governance. In Solomon Islands, the next phase of the program will (1) expand access to justice through pilot support to community officers and work to forge a consensus around local level justice reforms, (2) pilot models of advisory services to parties negotiating agreements over land and natural resources and (3) support a government taskforce on urban public land governance.  In Timor-Leste, the J4P team will (1) work to develop mechanisms to manage potential conflict and grievance arising from large-scale infrastructure development, (2) support the effective implementation of the land law and (3) begin an evidence-based policy debate around urban land governance. For more information about J4P activities at the country level, please visit   



J4P Completes Mid-Term Review


In January, the J4P program completed a Mid-Term Review (MTR) of its East Asia and Pacific Regional Program which is implemented in partnership with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).  The MTR reviewed program experiences to date and lays out a next phase of work in the region that focuses on three key operational areas: Access to JusticeEquity and Conflict Management in Service Delivery, and Land and Natural Resource Governance. For more information on the MTR or the next phase of regional programming please contact Deborah Isser.





Opportunities and Challenges in Establishing a New System for Provision of Legal Aid


Indonesia Photo March 2012 NewsletterIn November 2011, Indonesia enacted a new Legal Aid Law which sets out a broad framework for the unified provision of state-funded legal aid services.  In-court and out-of-court activities addressing criminal, civil and administrative matters may be funded, with services delivered by accredited providers including legal aid organizations, bar associations and university legal clinics. The J4P program, in partnership with local NGOs Percik, Bakti, and the Indonesian Paralegal Network, sponsored a series of three regional workshops during February to facilitate stakeholder input into the implementation arrangements for the new Law. The workshops brought together legal aid and paralegal organizations from across the country, representatives of the courts and police, along with representatives of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights who are responsible for overseeing implementation of the Law. Key issues discussed included how to identify and accredit suitable legal aid providers, how to channel funding to providers through an efficient and transparent mechanism and how to ensure that providers of different types of legal services work together effectively to create a comprehensive system of legal aid. For more information please contact Sonja Litz.





Delivering Advisory Services to Landholders


VanuatuMarch2012NewsletterIn February, the Vanuatu Land Governance Committee endorsed Jastis Blong Evriwan’s (Justice for the Poor’s program in Vanuatu) proposal to support the provision of advisory services to landholders. The project will respond to landholders' need for advice in order to make informed decisions about land dealings. Access to better advice is intended to mitigate potential conflict by reducing inequities which emerge from poorly informed deal making processes, and by channeling grievances from existing land dealings into peaceful resolution. The project will focus on (1) developing innovative approaches for the effective delivery of the service; and (2) identifying and supporting legitimate, effective and sustainable structures for the provision of advisory services to landholders. The project will take a participatory design approach to ensure input from communities, civil society organizations, government departments, academic institutions and private sector actors. For more information please contact Milena Stefanova.



Sierra Leone 


Supporting Demand-Side Governance in Sierra Leone


The World Bank in Sierra Leone is working to strengthen demand for good governance (DFGG) – enabling citizens and other non-state actors to demand better services and accountability from the state.  The J4P program supports these efforts through (1) technical assistance to the Government of Sierra Leone on the implementation of accountability mechanisms for the delivery of services under the country’s decentralized governance structure, (2) exploring means of engaging paralegals to improve accountability for government health service delivery and (3) conducting a review of active DFGG mechanisms in the World Bank portfolio.   For more information please contact Nicholas Menzies.



Launch of the Global Legal Empowerment Network


We are pleased to announce the launch of the Global Legal Empowerment Network.  The Network, hosted by the new legal empowerment organization Namati  (, provides a forum for those committed to legal empowerment — community paralegals, concerned citizens, NGOs, development agencies, public interest lawyers, journalists, government officials — to share tools and information. The network grows out of several years of discussion among legal empowerment practitioners, convened with the help of the Open Society Justice Initiative and the World Bank’s Justice for the Poor Program and is a forum for learning from one another, and for building a broader, stronger legal empowerment movement. For more information please contact Peter Chapman or join the Network here:  


Events and Publications


Supporting Win-Win Engagements between Communities and Agribusiness Investors in Timor-Leste I Tetum I Bahasa

In Timor-Leste 75% of the population lives in rural areas, where subsistence agriculture is the main economic activity.  Many of these communities wish to increase their production by using modern farming inputs and machinery.  Working with agribusiness investors is one way of improving production and increasing incomes.  Justice for the Poor research reveals difficulties in developing equitable and productive relationships between rural communities and private investors.  These guidelines, developed with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Timor-Leste (CoCITL), are designed to assist national and international agribusiness investors and community members to identify the key issues and suggest ways to support mutually beneficial cooperation. J4P and the CoCITL also developed specific advice for community members:  Working with Agribusiness Investors in Timor-Leste: Guidelines for Community Members I Tetum I Bahasa.


J4P Bloggers Discuss Justice in Development, Hybrid Courts and Urban Land Governance
  • Peter Chapman and Michael Woolcock, in a widely circulated post in the World Bank’s Governance for Development blog, discuss strategies for justice reform that might better respond to marginalized communities.
  • Shaun Williams, in a post in The Housing, Land and Property Weblog: TerraNullius, explores urban state land governance in Solomon Islands.
  • Peter Chapman, in a series of posts in the World Bank’s East Asia & Pacific on the rise blog, talks about the role of hybrid courts and whether they might be a ‘best fit’ approach to justice reform in the region.   

Cambodia's Arbitration Council: Institution-Building in a Developing Country

This paper, a joint effort of the International Labour Office and the World Bank, provides background on the establishment of the Arbitration Council, a quasi judicial body that deals with collective labor disputes in Cambodia. The story of the Arbitration Council provides an example of how development partners (first the ILO and later the World Bank and AusAID) can support iterative approaches to justice reform with measurable results. 


How Capital Projects are Allocated in Papua New Guinean Villages

This report presents findings from a household survey investigating the determinants of infrastructure project delivery at the lowest level of government in Papua New Guinea.  Over the last fifteen years Papua New Guinea has worked to bring government closer to the people and this study assesses the impact of institutional changes.  The report identifies the importance of certain factors in the allocation of infrastructure development projects, in particular local collective action.  A key finding is that wards with residents active in social groups are more likely to receive development projects.



Top 5 in 2012

The most dowloaded J4P publications of the first quarter of 2012 are: 


  1. Increasing Access to Justice for Women, the Poor, and Those Living in Remote Areas: An Indonesian Case Study, Cate Sumner and Matthew Zurstrassen, J4P Briefing Note, March 2011
  2. Role of Law and Justice in Achieving Gender Equality, Rea Abada Chiongson, Deval Desai, Teresa Marchiori and Michael Woolcock, Input Paper for 2012 World Development Report
  3. Supporting Win-Win Engagements between Communities and Agribusiness Investors in Timor-Leste I Tetum I Bahasa, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Timor-Leste, December 2011
  4. Public Land Governance in Solomon Islands, Shaun Williams, J4P Briefing Note, February 2011
  5. Rethinking Justice Reform in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States, Deval Desai, Deborah Isser, and Michael Woolcock, The World Bank Legal Review, Vol. 3, 2011

The Justice for the Poor program is supported by a variety of partners, including the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID); Government of the Netherlands; Government of Japan; Government of Ireland; and the Governments of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

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Last updated: 2012-03-22

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