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November 20, 2023

Measuring Success in Judicial Reform Initiatives: A Practice Note for Justice Sector Practitioners


Measuring results and assessing success in judicial reform initiatives responds to the question, “to what extent is a program achieving judicial reform goals?” Inclusion of results measurement in judicial reform initiatives is essential to the development of effective programming. Results measurement helps to align programs with country development priorities and promotes accountability and learning. Measurement also fulfills objectives for U.S. Government foreign assistance programs as described under the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016 (FATAA) and the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President (OMB), Monitoring and Evaluation Guidelines (2018).

Evaluating success and measuring results delivers many benefits: it improves local capacity for data collection, builds stakeholder support and ownership, informs program design, strengthens inclusivity, and promotes the interests of vulnerable and marginalized groups. Evaluation and measurement produce evidence. Scholars and practitioners have emphasized the central importance of evidence-based approaches to effective reform.

This Practice Note was developed in collaboration with the members of the JusTRAC+ Community of Practice for Justice Sector Measurement to address questions justice sector practitioners commonly encounter, including: “How can the judiciary be engaged in the data collection process?”; “How are U.S. Government agencies carrying out baseline studies and evaluating success at the end of implementation?”; “What best practices and lessons learned can we highlight in justice sector reform measurement?”; “What approaches can be used to measure success in data poor environments?”; and “What is a ‘measurable objective’ and how does a measurable objective relate to success measurement of court reforms?” In answering these questions, this Practice Note discusses core aspects of results measurement for judicial reform initiatives, including: (1) integration of measurement in the program cycle; (2) approaches to measuring results in key normative areas of judicial reform; and (3) collection and analysis of data on judicial reform initiatives.

As identified in the figure below, the Practice Note addresses key areas for three categories of justice sector development practitioners – donors and program designers; program implementers; and monitoring, evaluation, and learning specialists. The note provides a general overview of key aspects of measurement of judicial reform programs for practitioners who design new international development programs and/or engage in related monitoring, evaluation, and learning. As such, the note offers a snapshot of approaches and is not intended to provide a comprehensive view of measurement design and approaches.

The Practice Note is sub-divided into four sections:

  1. Basic Concepts for Measuring Success and Results
  2. Norms and Standards for Judicial Reform
  3. Approaches and Methods for Measuring Success in Judicial Reform Initiatives
  4. Data Quality Considerations

Measurement “Musts” for Justice Sector Development Practitioners

Donors and Program Designers Program Implementers MEL Experts

- Incorproate evidence in program design

- Ensure measurement activities are incorporated in program design

- Measurement considers both accountability and learning for various stakeholders

- Ensure that programs measure what matters most

- Ensure that programs measure what matters most

- Ensure responsible and reliable data is used for measurement

View the Practice Note