Working Group Sets Judicial Benchmarks for Middle East and North Africa

ABA ROLI initiated the creation of the ACJLS in 2005 to meet the need for a regional body of judicial experts in the Middle East.

January 2008 

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) supported the development of benchmarks for measuring judicial system performance in the region through its Arab Council for Judicial and Legal Studies (ACJLS) initiative. Experts from the Middle East and North Africa region, working with international experts identified regional benchmarks and set out specific criteria for evaluating justice sector performance. The four main areas covered by these regional benchmarks included judicial independence, access to justice and fair process, well managed judicial systems, and competent and qualified judicial personnel.

In order to evaluate a country’s performance in these areas, a working group of experts created several factors with detailed measurement criteria.  They identified qualitative and quantitative measurements for the factors, and they outlined the type of information and statistics required for evaluation.  In general, the benchmarks will rely on scores determined by experts and a variety of statistical information and surveys.  

The ACJLS plans to pilot the benchmarks in select countries and then further refine them based on the feedback received through this process.