Building on Local Strengths: Evaluation of Australian law and justice assistance

17 December 2012

Law and justice is an increasingly important area of international development assistance, but there is little consensus among OECD donors on how exactly law and justice contributes to wider development processes. Australia has emerged as a leader in this area, delivering law and justice assistance through a number of Australian Government agencies including DFAT, the Australian Federal Police and the Attorney-General’s Department.

This evaluation assessed the relevance and effectiveness of Australia’s law and justice programs. To do so, it mapped the main drivers, trends and patterns in Australian law and justice assistance, with three detailed country case studies: Cambodia, Indonesia and Solomon Islands. The evaluation recommended that Australian law and justice assistance adopt more modest and specific goals; that Australia avoids working towards idealised institutional forms or offering standardised packages of support; that whole-of-government delivery of law and justice assistance is preserved and its effectiveness ensured; and that AusAID’s Law and Justice Unit invests in developing more detailed guidance for results management in law and justice programs.

Evaluation report

Case studies

Think pieces

The following documents from members of the international aid community provide insight and opinion into law and justice in developing countries.

Some thoughts on law and justice: what to do about the 'crisis of confidence'?—Eric Scheye

What should donors do if their primary approach to justice and security is producing disappointing results? Policing expert and a team member of ODE's law and justice evaluation, Dr Eric Scheye, discusses the 'crisis of confidence' the justice and security field is currently experiencing and suggests a new way of designing programs to deliver tangible results for people on the ground.

Eight steps for finding law and justice gold—Otwin Marenin

The ultimate goal for most donors is to help key players in partner countries establish a local, self-sustaining, and legitimate law and justice system. Easier said than done? Renowned academic Dr Otwin Marenin outlines the eight conditions that donors must address to make this complex goal a reality.

The political approach to the law and justice sector—Adrian Leftwich

Dr Adrian Leftwich unpacks the political and social context in which the law and justice 'sector' operates and argues that sustainable economic growth, human security, political stability and inclusive social development all depend on a secure and stable institutional environment. At the core of this are law and justice institutions.

Last Updated: 27 October 2014
Police from across the Pacific holding their countries' flags and smiling at the camera
Police from across the Pacific stand with their country’s flag, at RAMSI’s Headquarters in 2007. Credit: RAMSI.