At present, virtually everyone working in the field of development agrees that reform of mal-functioning court systems is central in promoting good governance and rule of law. Unfortunately, however, the record of court reform attempts is not very heartening. Those who intend to reform must take into account a complex set of courts' relations with other state agencies, dispute resolvers, and actors in the state legal system, but they also depend heavily on the quality of legislation and legal education. In reaction to this complexity, three types of strategies have been common for court reform programmes: the 'holistic', the 'tactical', and the 'strategic' approach. This Research and Policy Note discusses strategic court reform and its underlying ideas. Its main intention is to alert those involved in judicial reform to some of the pitfalls and choices connected to particular types of interventions. The concluding remarks will comment on the political nature of judicial reform and on a model to design a proper sequence of interventions for judicial reform.
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