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Research on the Poor Accessing Justice and the Alternative Law Groups as a Justice Reform Advocate

By: Social Weather Stations, The Alternative Law Groups

The Supreme Court is currently implementing an Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR), which includes among its priority areas the enhancement of access to justice by the poor.  The APJR is supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through the Justice Reform Initiatives Support (JURIS) Project, which is being implemented from 2003 to 2007.  JURIS has three major components: 1) strengthening alternative dispute resolution mechanisms through court annexed mediation; 2) strengthening the Philippine Judicial Academy in the delivery of educational programs for judges and court personnel on mediation and access to justice by the poor; and 3) strengethning the Alternative Law Groups (ALG) as an advocate for reforms to enhance judicial services and improve access to justice by the poor and marginalized groups.

This evaluation research is part of the JURIS Project and is intended to evaluate the impact of the third component on justice reform advocacy.  The research has two evaluation areas intended to independently assess:

  1.  The improvement in access to justice by the poor and marginalized groups, focusing on the role of the ALG in empowering the poor and marginalized to make use of the existing avenues in resolving their justice issues; and
  2. The capacity of the ALG as justice reform advocate to engage government and other institutions to improve the quality of judicial services and access to justice.