Our Work & Research

Our Work

ABA ROLI places an emphasis on collaborative and sustainable efforts that build upon stakeholder consensus. ABA ROLI’s local partners include judges, lawyers, bar associations, law schools, court administrators, legislatures, ministries of justice, human rights organizations and civil society members.

While ABA ROLI implements its technical assistance programs in a wide array of substantive areas, including commercial and property law reform, its efforts are concentrated in the seven focal areas:

Access to Justice and Human Rights: Establishing public defender programs as well as legal aid and law school clinics, supporting justice system changes that increase access to the courts and other dispute resolution mechanisms, increasing awareness of international human rights standards and humanitarian law, and training legal professionals to seek redress for human rights violations in both domestic and regional/international courts.

Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity: ABA ROLI programs around the world focus on drafting and implementing public integrity standards and freedom-of-information laws, developing national action plans, conducting public education campaigns on the corrosive impact of corruption, and encouraging the public to combat corruption through mechanisms such as anonymous hotlines.

Criminal Law Reform and Anti-Human Trafficking: Our programs train criminal justice professionals, including police and prosecutors, to combat crimes such as human trafficking, money laundering and cyber crime, while helping to reform key criminal law legislation, such as criminal procedure codes.

Judicial Reform: ABA ROLI promotes greater independence, accountability and transparency in judicial systems, assisting in drafting and enacting codes of judicial ethics, promoting judicial education and training, and enhancing court administration and efficiency.

Legal Education Reform and Civic Education: We promote education by assisting law schools in introducing new courses and practical training that better meet the needs of tomorrow’s legal professionals and by promoting a rule of law culture through civic education campaigns on the rule of law and citizens’ rights.

Legal Profession Reform: Our work includes assisting in developing and administering first-ever bar examinations, developing codes of legal ethics and strengthening independent bar associations to serve as advocates for and protectors of the rule of law. Programs also enhance continuing legal education programs to help ensure adequate mastery of existing and newly-enacted laws.

Women’s Rights: ABA ROLI focuses on assisting both governmental officials and non-governmental organizations to address a variety of women’s rights issues, such as domestic violence, sexual harassment in the workplace and widespread gender-based violence (including systematic rape) in post-conflict situations.

Our Research

ABA ROLI’s overseas work is supported by legal research and assessments. The program conducts in-depth assessments of draft legislation at the request of host country partners, conducts legal research, produces resource guides on rule of law issues, and develops and implements a range of acclaimed assessment tools.

To date, ABA ROLI has developed the following assessment tools:

  1. Access to Justice Assessment Tool
  2. CEDAW Assessment Tool, based on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
  3. Detention Procedure Assessment Tool
  4. HIV/AIDS Legal Assessment Tool
  5. Human Trafficking Assessment Tool,based on the United Nations Anti-Human Trafficking Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
  6. Judicial Reform Index
  7. Legal Profession Reform Index
  8. Prosecutorial Reform Index
  9. Legal Education Reform Index
  10. ICCPR Index, based on the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

ABA ROLI has conducted over 80 assessments in more than 30 countries using these tools, all of which are publicly available and are regularly relied upon by local reformers, technical assistance providers, international donors and scholars alike