Tetra Tech is implementing the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Promoting Rule of Law Project (PRLP), which is working to promote and protect the rule of just law and civil liberties in Myanmar.

The United States committed to supporting the Government of Myanmar to transition to democratic governance through implementing political reforms, fostering ethnic reconciliation, and strengthening the capacity of reform-minded individuals and institutions. USAID aims to help strengthen the rule of law and implement justice sector reforms in Myanmar. Tetra Tech is helping USAID address key capacity and structural gaps that limit the effectiveness of justice system actors and inhibit inclusive participation in rule of law reform initiatives.

Core needs in the justice sector include increased capacity for legal education, effective enforcement, and improved public access. Systemic and prolonged problems have undermined the justice system’s capacity. These include political control of the judiciary, corruption, a shortage of resources and limited access to sources of knowledge, oppression of an independent legal profession, and disregard for the protection of citizen rights as the basic tenet of the rule of law. A combination of these and other system failures during decades of autocratic rule have severely eroded public confidence in the justice system.

The Contract completed the first year of the pilot court activity, and the [Office of the Supreme Court of the Union (OSCU)] was delighted with the results achieved by the first three pilot courts. Because of this success, the OSCU has agreed to expand the pilot court activity into all 41 states and regions. Such is the strength of the Contractor’s [Tetra Tech’s] relationship with the OSCU.

USAID/Burma, Contractor Performance Assessment Reports, January 2017

The PRLP team is working alongside key stakeholders in the government to implement reforms, providing grant support and training to local legal aid organizations, and working with citizens to inform them of their rights. PRLP is based on the premise that successful establishment of the rule of law and accountability systems will allow Myanmar’s judicial system to better serve and address the needs of its citizens.

Tetra Tech’s PRLP team has achieved the following key results and impacts:

  • Assisted the judiciary to adopt and publish its first-ever 3 Year Judiciary Strategy (2015-2017)
  • Implemented a pilot electronic case management system in select courts and developed an automated budget management software application now used by the judiciary to develop a unified budget for all 400 courts in the country
  • Developed the Legal Aid Toolkit, a step-by-step instruction manual for legal aid providers covering the client intake process through trial preparation
  • Supported the creation and implementation of Myanmar’s first Law on Legal Aid and the establishment and development of an independent bar association, the Independent Lawyers’ Association of Myanmar
  • Awarded 43 grants to local civil society organizations and international nongovernmental organizations focusing on rule of law and access to justice issues
  • Developed a draft Justice Sector Comparative Law and Best Practices Compendium based on international standards and models, and facilitated a multi-stakeholder discussion of best practices for Myanmar

Tetra Tech is working to improve the norms, procedures, and institutions of justice. We are conducting open dialogue between citizens and the government to restore citizens’ faith and confidence in Myanmar’s judicial system.