Understanding and engaging informal justice

Organization: Secretariat of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law

Engagement with informal justice systems in developing countries has emerged as a major policy priority for donor nations such as the Netherlands. This interest reflects practical realities. After all, in the developing world, an estimated eighty to ninety per cent of disputes are handled outside the state justice system. In countries with weak institutions or that are prone to conflict, informal justice can be particularly prominent because state courts cannot or will not consistently uphold the law. Thus, engagement with informal justice constitutes a vital area of engagement for both domestic and international policymakers seeking to produce tangible changes in how justice is actually experienced. However, it is also an area fraught with risks.

This report fed into an Interactive Brainstorm event on informal justice which took place on 20 October, and seeks to examine potential engagement by domestic and international actors with local informal justice systems. 

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