Tetra Tech worked to strengthen delivery of justice services in Côte d’Ivoire to build citizens’ confidence in seeking dispute resolution through the court system.

Ivorian courts lack tools to effectively manage their cases, while the lack of coordination between prosecutors and police undermines criminal prosecutions. Many Ivorians mistrust the formal court system, and citizens lack access to justice. Through the five-year U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded ProJustice program, Tetra Tech worked with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), courts, and civil society organizations in Côte d’Ivoire to improve case management, increase citizens’ awareness of their rights, provide better access to legal aid, and reduce corruption.

No one will get lost anymore in the premises of our court. I welcome the initiative of ProJustice to install this signage. What seems routine is innovative and I am delighted at the great results.

Mr. Charles Hermann Brou, Magistrate at the Yopougon Court of First Instance

The program was implemented in two phases. The first involved 11 pilot jurisdictions, between 2013 and 2015, and the second phase was initiated in new pilot jurisdictions in 2016. In agreement with USAID and the MOJ, seven of the original jurisdictions were replaced by new pilot courts. Over the life of the program, ProJustice covered 18 jurisdictions spread across the country.

To improve case processing time, Tetra Tech piloted an automated case management system in two of the ProJustice’s pilot courts. The project also created the Criminal Registry Tool (Bureau d’Ordre Pénal or BOP), an innovative software tool installed in the project’s pilot courts to centralize case information. By the end of 2017, 53,022 criminal case files had been recorded in the BOP.

In the project’s 18 pilot jurisdictions, Tetra Tech also supported the installation of more than 50 solution boxes, which enable citizens to fill out anonymous questionnaires and share their experiences with the court system. One court received 160 questionnaires in the first three weeks. Another court received comments on delays in case processing and reception of litigants, prompting it to take steps to address these issues. The solution boxes have enabled Ivorians to communicate their concerns to their local courts, which is helping the pilot courts to be more responsive and improving their transparency and accountability.

To overcome dysfunction in court management, Tetra Tech proposed the creation of a Quality Management Control Unit (Unité de Contrôle de Qualité et de Gestion or UCQG), an internal management tool for the pilot court presidents to improve the quality of work performed in courts. This ProJustice-developed tool provides a permanent meeting framework for jurisdiction heads (court presidents, chief prosecutors, and chief clerks) to manage important administrative decisions. Various problems are identified and solved through UCQG meetings, and this tool facilitates greater effectiveness and efficiency in court management contributing to reduction in case processing time. At the end of program implementation, ProJustice saw a 45 percent reduction in case backlog and 15 percent reduction in case disposition time in the new pilot courts.

In support of the legal rights of people with disabilities (PWDs), Tetra Tech sent international experts to Côte d’Ivoire to share their expertise and help develop recommendations for strengthening and raising awareness of disability rights. The project procured ramps for courthouses, trained sign language interpreters, and produced legal materials in Braille. Tetra Tech’s campaign to improve awareness of legal rights among PWDs resulted in a 47-percent increase in awareness by the end of the project.

Tetra Tech also pursued ProJustice project goals including supporting strategic planning by justice institutions, training judges and justice sector staff, disseminating legal information, preparing standard operating procedures for pilot courts, increasing citizens’ access to legal aid, and bolstering transparency and accountability. These initiatives are aimed at providing citizens with the confidence to seek resolution of disputes through the court system.

To learn more about Tetra Tech’s work, view the project video.