USAID Legal Reform Program, Uzbekistan
Tetra Tech is supporting the Government of Uzbekistan to strengthen the legal and judicial system and to foster the growth and development of local civil society.
In recent years, the government accelerated the implementation of legislative and judicial reforms to modernize all aspects of its legal framework. Significant structural changes and the adoption of policies conforming with international standards and best practices have reduced impediments to growth and development. Civil society also is emerging with new roles and voices in judicial reform, as the government made noticeable improvements in media and civil society freedom, including a recent decree enabling more monitoring and oversight of the judicial system.
Legal and judicial professionals need critical support to build on this momentum and strengthen their capacity to oversee policy development and continue legislative and structural reforms in the country. As the implementing partner for the Legal Reform Program (LRP), funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Tetra Tech is helping respond to this need by collaborating with justice sector actors and providing targeted technical and organizational assistance in areas such as legal analysis, legislative drafting, public information, gender equality, and international standards and best practices. Through developing government-civil society partnerships, LRP will foster mutual understanding, respect for the rule of law, and access to justice for all citizens.
Tetra Tech is working to enable collaboration between government counterparts and key civil society organizations to engage the public in identifying local priorities and to make evidence-based decisions to achieve sustainable results.
The program includes three core components:
- Advancing rule of law development by providing specialized technical expertise, research, and analysis to strengthen the justice system’s legal and normative framework; incorporating international standards and effective practices; and supporting government rule of law initiatives, including legal aid and alternative dispute resolution
- Developing the legal profession by partnering with law schools and legal and judicial training academies; strengthening the capacity of judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys through training and professional development; and establishing partnerships with universities
- Enhancing civic engagement and accountability in the justice sector by building civil society capacity to advocate and monitor for legal reforms; improving access to information on new laws, regulations, and procedures relevant to civil society; and developing citizen oversight and public input mechanisms
The project will work with government stakeholders such as the Ministry of Justice, the Academy of the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Chamber of Advocates, the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade, and national universities such as the Tashkent University School of Law and the University of World Economy and Diplomacy. Through these partnerships, Tetra Tech will help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the justice system and promote public engagement in legislative reforms.
Tetra Tech’s grants program will support local and national civil society and community-based organizations to embark on citizen engagement and awareness campaigns and provide legal aid to vulnerable citizens. The project also will train and support journalists to report on complex legal issues, taking advantage of the new digital media landscape that has emerged in Uzbekistan.
Tetra Tech is combining proven approaches with innovative solutions in technology to support the government in creating a more transparent accessible justice system and international expertise to advise on legal education strategies as well as national legislation. For example, Tetra Tech will assist the government in enhancing the Uzbek National Database of Legislation to increase public awareness of laws and reforms, and in revising the model bilateral investment treaty and investment agreements to support economic opportunities in the country.
Other program activities include developing curricula and skills development strategies with local university law programs, such as the creation of a distance learning program, study tours in the United States, and other international collaboration opportunities to enhance learning among law students.
By strengthening the justice system’s legal framework, the legal profession, and the role of civil society, LRP will improve citizens’ access to justice and legal assistance, stability, rule of law, and ultimately the social, economic, and investment climate in the country.