Rule of Law

Recognizing that two-thirds of the world’s population lacks meaningful access to justice, we take an evidence-based approach to justice sector reform that emphasizes user-friendly service delivery and the removal of constraints that hamper individuals reaching their full human potential.

Our priority is to build a justice ecosystem that ensures all persons, institutions and entities are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated.

Widespread adherence to the rule of law, democratic practices and respect for human rights are essential to sustained political, economic, and social development. We have worked for decades to assist transitioning societies and host governments to develop justice systems that are fair, efficient, and focused on the actual needs of the citizenry. Our rule of law projects support institutional reform, judicial training, legal aid networks, access to justice, alternative dispute resolution, human rights protections, and citizen security.

Our experienced interdisciplinary team of technical experts brings years of experience in the development of innovative implementation methodologies and tools that are user-centered and have been refined by repeated world-wide application. Our comprehensive range of services includes diagnostic surveys; justice sector assessments; strategy formulation; analysis, planning and design services; training; comprehensive technical assistance for program implementation; and monitoring and evaluation.

We pay particular attention to sustainability, working closely with our counterparts to ensure that all programming is locally led, locally developed, and considers the operating environment as seen through the eyes of the average citizen.

People-Centered Justice. We take an evidence-based approach to improve the problem-solving capability of justice service providers, the outcome focus of justice institutions, the safety and security of the most marginalized individuals, and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms.

Strengthening of Formal & Informal Systems. We employ analytical tools developed over decades of justice sector consulting experience to map justice system strengths and gaps. We support locally owned processes to strengthen judicial independence and the capabilities of justice institutions through strategic planning, building capacity of judicial training centers, and improving budgeting, HR, and other systems. We support greater accessibility and cost-effectiveness of justice through integration of formal and informal justice system components.

Court Modernization and Automation. With the overall goal of building public trust, we deliver court modernization services backed by evidenced-based knowledge of what has worked and not worked in different contexts, and why. Through measures such as case management and case delay reduction programs, automation/digitization, self-help services, court user surveys, procedural justice training, and information services, we promote a people first culture with consistently positive impact on user satisfaction with the judicial process.

Legal Aid System Strengthening. We strive to close the justice gap by strengthening access to affordable legal assistance and information. Our legal empowerment services span from strategic advice on legal aid policy frameworks to technical support to public defenders, legal aid providers, paralegals, law school clinics and related community-based actors.

Gender Based Violence (GBV) Justice. We employ survivor-centric, holistic, and culturally appropriate approach to tackle GBV by strengthening laws and policies, developing prevention systems including behavioral change strategies, and building capacity and commitment of protection and prosecution institutions and actors.

Crime and Violence Prevention. Recognizing unaddressed violence inhibits development and undermines community trust in government and justice systems, we work with community partners to design, implement, and evaluate effective crime and violence prevention strategies including community policing and evidence-based community programs such as alternatives to gang membership.

Civil Society Advocacy. We engage civil society leaders to advance the rule of the law by monitoring and researching the justice and legal system, forming policy advocacy coalitions and networks, and proposing innovations and partnerships to improve the justice system.

MSI’s research and publications offer practical guidance to donors and policymakers, including USAID’s Reducing Corruption in the Judiciary and Guide to Rule of Law Country Analysis: The Rule of Law Strategic Framework (produced by DPK, which is now integrated in MSI’s ROLGA practice area); Strengthened Rule of Law Approaches to Address Organized Crime: Social Norms; and Strengthened Rule of Law Approaches to Address Organized Crime: Government Complicity in Organized Crime.


Cecilia Real

Michael Lechner



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