The low access trap and other challenges for courts

The low access trap and other challenges for courts 24 March 2013

 In the run up to a Trend Report on the Future of Courts due to appear later this year, HiiL is organisation a series of work sessions in our Justice Innovation Lab. In a new blog to support the Challenges for courts session, we investigate the most urgent challenges reported by court leaders, whom we met during projects and with whom we worked in seminars held in Singapore, San José (Costa Rica), Addis Abeba, Tunis and The Hague.

 Courts are often criticised for being slow, or out of sync with reality. But who would want to be responsible for running a court? People address courts for their housing and land disputes, divorces, consumer issues, business conflicts, complaints about government agencies, debt problems, thefts, personal injuries and for solving homicides. The variety of issues for which they need the intervention of a neutral third party is immense. On average there are 18 judges, and in some countries less than five, per 100 000 inhabitants. And they have to give all these men and women a fair hearing.