Posts

The Impact of E-Court Services on Brick-and-Mortar Courthouses and the Physical Presence of Judges

Supply chain management -- the topic of the previous post, along with the related financial topic of asset management of court real estate (“The Untapped Public Wealth of Courts,” December 04, 2018) -- was initially prompted years ago by declining court cases and decreasing flows of legal proceedings in courts and tribunals. Understanding the size, location, and spatial distribution of existing judicial resources and networks is critical to evaluating and balancing the supply and demand of judicial services delivered by courts. How many courts does a judicial system need and where should they be located to administer justice effectively, efficiently, and fairly? How far away can courts be from the citizenry before the distance constitute a barrier for access to justice? These are questions addressed by me and my colleague Robert R. Rose, Director of the Center for Geospatial Analysis at the College of William & Mary (W&M) in Williamsburg, Virginia, in a series of judicial mapp…

The Untapped Public Wealth of Courts

Faced with shrinking budgets and revenue streams that are dry or reduced to a trickle, at the same time as citizens are demanding better public services, judiciaries must learn not only how to spend more wisely but also to manage their public assets better. Justice systems own valuable land and brick-and-mortar assets that they often do not use and do not need. As judiciaries around the world consolidate or close courts altogether to improve their supply chain management of judicial service, courthouses are not at capacity or sit empty as judges are transferred to other locations.
This unused real estate represents untapped capital that justice systems should exploit. Historically, courts were located in the administrative centers of towns, cities, states and provinces. Today, they sit on valuable real estate, some of it is outrageously so (think of the center and suburbs of the developing and developed nations of the world). The physical space that courts will need to occupy may decr…

The Wide Gap Between De Jure and De Facto Law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia is a party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT). The Kingdom’s own criminal code contains safeguards against ill-treatment and torture of detainees.
And yet, according to troubling accounts widely reported last week, advisors to the Saudi royal family, human rights activists, and others with knowledge of the torture of detainees, said that Saudi security officers tortured eight of 18 jailed women’s-right activists this year (“Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Face Torture,” Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2018; “Jailed Saudi Women’s Rights Activists Said to Suffer Abuse,” Washington Post, November 21, 2018). Together with the October 2, 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, these accounts of alleged incidents of psychological and physical torture, including sleep deprivation, electric shocks, and beatings of detain…

Comity and the Whole-of-Government Approach in the Judicial Branch

Do the formal safeguards of judicial independence and the separation of powers of the judicial branch impede a whole-of-government approach to addressing complex public policy problems that require inter-agency communication, coordination, and collaboration across all three branches of government?
This question plus my tentative answer, namely that the de jure and de facto safeguards of judicial independence and separation of powers constitute a serious impediment to the whole- of- government approach, were prompted by my participation in two events in the last two weeks.
The most recent was the Inaugural Whole of Government National Security Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia, April 20, 2018, sponsored by the William & Mary’s Whole of Government Center of Excellence.Variously termed “one-stop government” and “joined-up government,” “whole-of-government” represents a change in emphasis away from organizational devolution, disaggregation, and single-purpose organizations towards …

Leveraging the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” including Goal 16, the “justice, peace, and inclusive institutions” goal, were hailed by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as nothing less than “a defining moment in human history.” Critics called the SDGs “a mess.”There’s much agreement on both accounts. The SDGs are lofty, ambitious, and inspirational. And they are vague and ill-defined. This provides an opening for justice systems and their stakeholders across the globe to leverage the SDGs to serve their national priorities and goals and perhaps even shape international goals.
In Uzbekistan
This essentially was my message to an international conference, “Modern Judicial Mechanisms for Reliable Protection of the Rights and Legitimate Interests of Entrepreneurs: Experience of Uzbekistan and International Practices,” in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The conference was organized by the Supreme Economic Co…

Without Replication, Should Program Evaluation Findings Be Suspect as Research Findings Currently Are?

Replication of research -- the reproducibility of findings -- is a methodological safeguard and hallmark of research universally lauded by scientists to justify their craft. As we are continuing to learn with more certainty, it is theory not much put into practice. Claims about research finding may be more likely to be false than true. Scientific studies are tainted by poor study design, sloppy and often self-serving data analysis, and miscalculation – problems that replication of the studies and duplication of the results would largely correct. Again, the problem is that it’s not done.
The continuing work of John Ioannidis at Stanford University, Brian Nosek at the University of Virginia, and others shows that much research is not and cannot be replicated. Almost a decade ago in these pages (Courts Have No Business Doing Research Studies, Made2Measure, October 15, 2007), I highlighted a 2005 paper by Ioannidis titled “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” that caused a stir …

How To Be Heard by Policymakers

The design of international development is ill-suited for our fast-paced world. It is not unusual for aid programs to take five or more years from blueprint to start-up and another five years for results to be reported, and even more time for the results to be “translated” into policy.
How Scientists Should Act
Writing in the February 10, 2017 issue of Science, Erik Stockstad summarizes the message of Paul Cairney, a political scientist at the University of Stirling in the UK, author of the book, The Politics of Evidence-Based Policy Making. Cairney’s message is for those scientists who want their findings to find their way into policy:
Data does not speak for itself.Scientists should be “sifters, synthesizers, and analyzers” to make the evidence “speak.” Cairney repeats the common refrain of policy-makers: “I don’t have the time to consider all the information. How do I decide?”
Policymaking is disorderly.Scientists need to dispense with the notion that policymaking is an orderly process…