NCSC recently completed a five-year effort to help courts in the northern African nation of Tunisia become more efficient and accessible.
The Improving Court Administration in Tunisia Program helped Tunisian courts by:
- Advancing people-centered justice. To address the information deficit that leads to distrust and keeps citizens from using the courts, NCSC developed a “user information kit” to educate the public about the courts, and trained 224 court clerks to effectively communicate with citizens, helping them understand how to use the courts and mitigate conflict.
- Promoting problem-solving justice. More than 1,800 judges, prosecutors and clerks received training on case and records management, use of IT solutions, communication, and more. Program interventions fostered a culture of collaboration and innovation to develop new resources and solutions to long-standing problems.
- Pursuing justice innovation. Eight model courts served as incubators for innovation that focused on improving service delivery and management of hearings of hearings, cases and records. Innovations tested in these courts have been validated and replicated by other courts.
- Modernizing systems and services. The model courts tested three applications to manage archives, hearings and statistics, saving courts money and court users time. For example, 85 percent of the 145 courts equipped with the statistical report application adopted it for monthly electronic reporting.
- Strengthening judicial governance. Court leaders brainstormed new approaches to court management, administrative staff development and problem-solving. NCSC also provided research and technical assistance to the newly established High Judicial Council to inform internal organization and the development of a new judicial code of ethics.
“We look back on the program as extremely successful and view it as a model of what can be achieved when diverse constituencies within the justice sector come together to address concrete problems affecting justice service delivery,” said Violaine Autheman, NCSC’s director of Tunisia programs.
NCSC is now working on three other programs that focus on court administration and anti-corruption efforts in Tunisia. These projects are funded by the U.S. State Department and the Embassy in Tunis through at least 2022.
The court administration program was funded by the U.S. State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau. NCSC partnered with the International Legal Assistance Consortium, a group of organizations with a mission to “strengthen the rule of law and empower legal professionals to ensure equal access to justice for all where people’s justice needs are the greatest.”
Shown from left to right: Violaine Autheman, NCSC-Tunisia director; Donald Bloome, U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia; Hasna Ben Slimane, Minister of Justice of Tunisia, and Raja Boussema, head of international cooperation, Ministry of Justice of Tunisia.