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Make It Official: The Case for In-Country Performance Measurement and Management

This is the third in a series of posts exploring the three international models of justice system performance measurement and management: (1) the EU Justice Scoreboard, (2) the Global Measures of Court Performance, and (3) the CourTools.

Law and justice scholars lament the spotty evidence linking rule of law and justice programs with development outcomes like economic growth, human rights, sound governance, and poverty reduction. A key cause of the evidence gap is the lack of emphasis on building in-country or domestic performance measurement and management in favor of third-party evaluations. All three international models, more or less, promote increased attention and investment in performance measurement and management – the regular and continuous monitoring, analysis, and use of performance information -- by justice officials and their institutions and justice systems themselves, not by third parties.Capacity for performance measurement is the ability of countries to meet user need…

International Models of Justice System Performance II

My last blog noted three promising international models of justice system performance measurement and management: (1) the EU Justice Scoreboard, (2) the Global Measures of Court Performance, and (3) the CourTools. All three, more or less, aim for harmonization and consistent use of a common set of justice sector performance measures. There are, of course, differences among them, but it is their commonality that is potentially transformative for justice systems around the globe.

What distinguishes these three models from international global governance initiatives like theWorld Justice Project’s WJP Rule of Law Index™ and the American Bar Association’s Judicial Reform Index, as well as myriad program evaluations of justice and rule of law projects, is that they promote an approach to performance measurement and management that: is essentially a bottom-up instead of a top-down strategy grounded in the local ambitions of justice institutions and justice systems exercising their legitimate…

International Models of Justice System Measurement and Managment

Three models of justice system performance measurement and management that have gained significant currency internationally over the last few years are:
·the recently launched European Commission’sEU Justice Scoreboardbased on the extensive work of the Council of Europe Commission for the Evaluation of the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ);
·the Global Measures for Court Excellence developed by the International Consortium for Court Excellence as part of its International Framework for Court Excellence; and,
·the National Center for State Courts' CourTools. All three of these models aim for consistent use by all countries and states or, in the case of the EU Justice Scoreboard, all EU member states; all three elevate to the status of core measures of performance a limited number of indicators (e.g., case clearance rate and on-time case processing) developed from data collected by the justice institutions and systems themselves, data that has been referred to somewhat pejoratively as “a…

Q & A: A Compelling Story of Effective Use of Performance Measurement and Management

Q: Adopting government-wide or justice sector-wide performance measurement and managementto make public service or justice service more efficient and effective is politically attractive, even if elected officials are drawn mostly by the symbolic values of the key success factors with which performance measures are aligned (e.g., legitimacy, fairness, and public trust and confidence in institutions).Successful leaders and managers are drawn to performance measurement because it informs uncertain decisions. Beyond such models as the European Commission’s EU Justice Scoreboard,the Global Measures for Court Excellencedeveloped by the International Consortium for Court Excellence as part of its International Framework for Court Excellence, and the National Center for State Courts' CourTools, and their attendant exhortations to adopt performance measurement and management, are there any compelling success stories of effective use?
A: Yes. Almost five years ago, I wrote here about the Mo…

The “What Ifs” Along the Road in the Quest of a Justice Index

What if we could draw an indicator of the “health” of the justice systems throughout the United States – a Justice Index - from readily available public data that is impartial, reliable, objective and comparable, let’s say the amount of time that criminal defendants spend in custody without a trial, or even without any access to legal or justice services? Or the bail amounts imposed on misdemeanor defendants?
This kind of a measure would not be perfect – no measure is – but it would be something, better than nothing. It would address questions of fairness and efficient use of public resources. That is, a criminal defendant languishing in jail awaiting trial suffers, at the least, a delay in justice. He or she is also occupying a jail bed and spending taxpayers’ money.
What if we then join this measure with another meaningful indicator of the health of our justice systems in counties and states, let’s say the degree to which jurisdictions prosecute domestic violence cases. That would b…

Measurement: Bill Gates’ Plan to Fix the World’s Problems

Bill Gates: My Plan To Fix the World’s Biggest Problems** Measure Them!This is the headline of the lead article in the Review section of the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journalwritten by Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founder of Microsoft.The article was accompanied by a large picture of transparent globe wrapped by a tape measure covering most of the first page of the section. Its message is the theme of Made2Measure. Because it comes from Bill Gates, we tend to listen. “In the past year,” Gates writes, “I have been struck by how important measurement is to improving the human condition. You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal .. .This may seem basic, but it is amazing how often it is not done and how hard it is to get right.” He writes specifically about foreign aid among other areas like education, health care and agriculture .“Historically, foreign aid has…