Access to Justice and the Rule of Law: The Next 25 Years


  • Event details

1:00–2:00 p.m.


Tom Malinowski
, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State

2:15–3:30 p.m.

Panel 1 – Enhancing the Supply of Justice Services: Institutionalizing Innovations and Successful Delivery Models

Access to justice requires the existence of independent, accountable, and functional justice institutions that are capable of serving citizens’ justice needs in a fair, effective, and efficient manner. Yet, courts and other justice sector institutions throughout the world face common challenges, such as insufficient professionalism and integrity, inadequate resources, overwhelming backlogs and delays, unwillingness to embrace a service-oriented role, and the resulting lack of public trust in the formal system. This panel will explore various top-down approaches to creating, reforming, and strengthening the capacity of judiciaries and other rule of law institutions. What does it take to put in place a framework that ensures a steady supply of justice services to adequately meet the society’s growing demand for justice? What innovations have been tried in the past, how have they fared, what were the factors driving their success or failure, and what other measures might be tried in the future? How can leaders in government, civil society, and the donor community effectively draw upon their knowledge and experience, so that the most effective justice delivery models can be institutionalized and standardized worldwide?


Jerry Hyman, Senior Adviser and President, Hills Program on Governance, Center for Strategic and International Studies


  • Lubomira Beardsley, Senior Counsel, Governance Global Practice, The World Bank
  • Jens Deppe, Georgia Team Leader, Legal Approximation to European Standards in the South Caucasus Regional Program, German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ)
  • Robert La Mont, Philippines Country Director, ABA Rule of Law Initiative

3:45–5:00 p.m.

Panel 2 – The Political Economy of Legal Empowerment: Strategies in Action

Legal empowerment works from the bottom up to increase the capacity of people to exercise their rights and to participate in the processes of governing, and it must be understood within broader social and political environments. This panel will explore demand-oriented, community-driven approaches to justice and governance reform, particularly in contexts with inhospitable and constraining operating environments for civil society. What works and doesn't work in civil society-led legal empowerment initiatives? How can the lessons of grassroots programs be translated into large-scale policy change? What can legal empowerment actors do to address the closing space around civil society?


Jennifer Tsai, Senior Access to Justice Advisor, ABA Rule of Law Initiative


  • Charles Guy Makongo, Country Director, Democratic Republic of Congo, ABA Rule of Law Initiative
  • Sarah Mendelson, Senior Adviser and Director, Human Rights Initiative, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abigail Moy, Director of Global Network, Namati
  • Douglas Rutzen, President and CEO, The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

5:00–6:30 p.m.

Networking and ABA ROLI Alumni Reception

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