The Initiative for Court Excellence in Lao PDR
Judicial Integrity plays a critical role in advancing the rule of law in Lao PDR. In Lao PDR, the rule of law is promoted in the context of strengthening governance structures and systems given the relatively early stage of development of the justice sector. A key component of advancing the rule of law is the accountability of the courts. The International Framework for Court Excellence (IFCE) and UNDP Judiciary Integrity checklist is expected enhance court excellence activities and ensure accountability of the courts’ system in Lao PDR.
The Legal Sector Master Plan (LSMP) was officially adopted by the Government of Lao PDR in 2009 and laid out a comprehensive sectoral reform agenda to establish a state governed by the rule of law. The LSMP outlines a clear
commitment to ensure the strengthening of the legal profession as a driver to advancing rule of law and increasing access to justice. Moreover, the 9th National Social Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) outlines several priority activities for strengthening overall governance in Lao PDR, including advancing rule of law and providing capacity building for justice experts and judiciaries. E-governance is also a key priority in the 9th NSEDP and the Justice Sector Development Plan for the period 2021-25. The Justice Sector Development Plan includes two key specific targets related to digitalization including:
- (1) building judicial integrity in knowledge and expertise in the field of digitalization by 2025, and;
- (2) quality and efficiency of court and case management by adhering to new technologies and digitalization.
The IFCE will be the foundation to develop e-governance in the field of court excellence.
Foundations to enhance court excellence to build public trust in the justice system and improve the quality of court services in Laos is established.
- To improve the understanding of IFCE of Laotian judges
- To implement self-assessment and analysis of court excellence from the viewpoint of the IFCE by the People’s Supreme Court
- To implement IFCE action plan and self-evaluation by the People’s Supreme Court
People’s Supreme Court of Laos, three largest regional courts representing the north, central and southern regions of the country. Participation of judges from other provincial and multiple district-level courts will be facilitated through Zoom.
50 Laotian judges
- Organising seminars for the introduction of the IFCE and the UNDP Judicial Integrity Checklist, share good regional practices and receive feedback on self-assessment methodologies. (May – June 2022)
- Conducting self-assessment of court excellence using IFCE and UNDP Judicial Integrity Checklists (July – September 2022)
- Analysing and selecting priority issues based on the self-assessment to improve its court excellence (July – September 2022)
- Developing an action plan for priority issues identified in the self-assessment, with a focus on promoting gender equality prioritized in the action plan (January – March 2023)
- Implementing and evaluating 1-2 activities prioritized in the action plan, with criteria including activities that promote gender equality, impact, innovation and sustainability (April – June 2023)