International Development Law Organisation (IDLO)

IDLO was founded in 1983 by a group of lawyers working in international development agencies in Africa. IDLO provides developing countries, countries in economic transition and those emerging from armed conflict with the resources, tools and professional skills to establish or strengthen the rule of law and good governance practices.

Telephone: +39 06 40403200
Fax: +39 06 40403232
Viale Vaticano
106 00165 Rome
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Policy and Research Papers

The Mystery of Legal Empowerment: Livlihood and Community Justice in Bolivia

The linkages between good governance, rule of law and economic growth, once more fully understood, have the potential to unshackle economies and decrease poverty throughout the developing world. Currently, however, most initiatives are heavy in rhetoric and light on directly addressing the legal structures and policies that affect the poor. Until developing countries can enable their vast populations of poor citizens to actively participate in their economies, their growth and the creation of egalitarian societies will be severely hampered. Analyzing and building on the final report of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor and other previous work, this article outlines a functional approach to addressing the most critical needs of the poor, including but not limited to issues that directly affect livelihoods and economic opportunity. It accordingly aims to help the poor gain a foothold in effecting their own development and making legal empowerment a reality. By introducing important lessons in ommunity-based justice from an access to justice program in Bolivia, the article provides tangible examples that might help shape legal empowerment initiatives to best address the needs of the poor.


Customary Justice: from Program Design to Impact Evaluation

is intended to provide guidance to international and national actors on the potential role of customary justice systems in fostering the rule of law and access to justice in post-conflict, post-disaster and development contexts. The book wishes to provoke thought among practitioners about the objectives of customary law interventions, to encourage critical assessments of the criteria on which programming decisions are made, and to provide tools to assist in gauging the extent to which interventions are having a positive impact.

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A Crisis of Confidence, Competence and Capacity: Programming Advice For Strengthening Mali’s Penal Chain

this report was researched and written on a tight timeline (mid-January to mid-May 2015), it focuses on the issues that emerged as the most salient ones in the course of the research. Moreover the various past and present efforts to improve the Malian justice system have  been examined in terms of the results they have achieved. In consequence, the report is best read as a panoramic snapshot of Mali’s ‘state of criminal justice’ at this particular point in time, nwhich it subsequently translates into general considerations and building blocks for programming efforts that seek to strength en Mali’s penal chain.

For full access to A Crisis of Confidence, Competence and Capacity: Programming Advice For Strengthening Mali’s Penal Chain, kindly follow the link.


Examination of Legal Aid in Haiti - Lessons Learned

Between 2 and 18 February 2017 a joint team from the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (MINUSTAH and the Justice and Corrections Service) and the USAID Justice Sector Strengthening Program (JSSP), supported by DCAF’s International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT) and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) undertook a mission to Haiti that examined the MINUSTAH-supported Legal Aid Office (Bureau d’Assistance Légale - BAL) of Port-au-Prince (2012-2017), Cap-Haïtien and Les Cayes (2015-2016), legal aid projects implemented by PROJUSTICE/USAID, and Government-supported BAL established between 2015 and 2017.

The mission report is available in English and French.