Quality legal and judicial reform depends on thorough and accurate evaluation of a country's legal institutions. To plan a reform focused on a society's judicial needs, reformers must first know the actual strengths and weaknesses of the legal system rather than basing reforms on frequently erroneous common wisdom. To judge the effectiveness of a reform initiative, rigorous post-project evaluation is essential. But the absence of good empirical data or reliable performance indicators forces practitioners to rely on anecdote and assumption rather than hard evidence. Conducting a good evaluation of a complex institution is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive even in a developed country and is even more challenging in developing countries. Data is often of dubious quality or nonexistent, many important aspects of the legal system are not quantifiable, and subjectivity in measurement is sometimes inevitable. And yet, while evaluation techniques can never be perfect, it is crucial to attempt evaluation and to improve upon existing methods.
This section contains a topic brief on performance evaluation as well as material pertaining to the evaluation of institutions and personnel. It also provides information on indicators for justice reform projects.
Performance Evaluation Topic Brief
Indicators for Justice Reform Projects