ADB Technical Assistance for Justice Reform in Developing Member Countries | Asian Development Bank

ADB Technical Assistance for Justice Reform in Developing Member Countries

Evaluation Document | 31 August 2009

This evaluation assesses ADB's support for justice reform and is intended to highlight to ADB's Board and Management the usefulness of ADB's continuing support for justice reform in implementing Strategy 2020.

Assistance from international development institutions for justice sector reform programs over the past 40 years has grown substantially, with considerable effort made to enhance access to justice and to reduce legal inequality.

This evaluation provides a first look at ADB's assistance for justice reform; 44 technical assistance projects were implemented in this area from 1991 through 2008. The study assesses the 22 of these projects that have already circulated completion reports. It finds that ADB's technical assistance for justice reform helped increase awareness of the need to improve legal empowerment and access to justice; strengthen judicial independence, accountability, and administration; and the need to undertake capacity building for justice sector agencies. The study gives ADB an overall rating of successful for its technical assistance projects for justice reform.

It also notes that ADB's assistance was small, notwithstanding good governance being increasingly important for ADB to achieve greater development effectiveness, and that justice reform is an important part of it. This may be due to factors including a crowding out by other priorities in ADB's strategic agenda, a lack of clearly defined organizational responsibilities for justice reform operations, a lack of the specialized skills needed to scale-up justice reform, and reluctance among countries to borrow for justice reforms.

While some of the technical assistance successfully brought out new ideas, quality at entry and amenability to evaluation were in many cases weak. Most of the projects assessed required more time to complete than was originally allotted and suffered administrative inefficiencies, raising administration costs and delaying benefits to the intended beneficiaries.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Justice Reform: The Context
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Findings, Lessons, Issues and Recommendations
  • Appendixes