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The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone

Strengthening the Judiciary of Sierra Leone

The Government of Sierra Leone requested technical assistance to support the reform and restructuring of the Judiciary's systems and processes.

Country: Sierra Leone
Host: Judiciary of Sierra Leone
Start date: 30/11/2011
End date: 16/08/2014
Policy area: Rule of Law
Policy expert: Mark Guthrie
Project manager: Tim Newman

Background

The 11 year conflict (1991-2002) in Sierra Leone destroyed much of the government administrative infrastructure and human resources, including the judiciary.

The Government has subsequently taken steps to reform and restructure its systems through the implementation of its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper - a central pillar of which is good governance and the development of the justice sector.

Goal

This project will strengthen the administration of justice in Sierra Leone through the provision of two High Court Judges and a Consultant Registrar.

A number of challenges will be addressed, including:

  • Backlog of the cases in the High Court
  • Shortage of judges
  • Inefficient case management
  • Court administration policy and procedures.
Impact

By addressing the challenges, this project helped to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the operations of the judicial system. This in turn helped improve the government’s ability to provide access to justice and create an economic environment that is conducive to foreign and domestic direct investment – a key driver of economic growth and development.

The beneficiaries of this project were the ministry of justice and people of Sierra Leone. Ultimately the whole country benefitted from a much more effective, efficient and responsive judicial system.

Output
  1. Significant reduction in case backlog (70% of current backlog)
  2. Implementation of a new bail policy
  3. Court staff, including magistrates, trained in judicial administration and case management
  4. Local judges trained and mentored to effectively operate as faculty at the new National Judicial Training Institute
  5. Appropriate rules, systems, procedures and user guides within the High Court established
  6. Recruitment of an Acting Master and Registrar to assume duties currently undertaken by the Consultant Registrar
  7. Effective leveraging and coordination of donor activities regarding the judiciary.