Vera and three fellow Altus Global Alliance members formed the Vera-Altus Justice Indicators Project to develop a set of indicators that could be used in diverse international settings to identify problems with adherence to the rule of law and chart progress toward improving access to justice.
This project, which was supported by the World Justice Project of the American Bar Association, was initiated to create indicators to gauge a nation’s adherence to legal procedures and standards, which are critically important if government officials and other reformers are to understand the challenges in maintaining, and improving, the rule of law.
Performance indicators are practical tools for holding governments accountable for providing effective, fair services that command public respect. However, to be useful across a wide variety of legal systems, cultures, and languages, indicators must be both flexible enough to accommodate diversity and also concrete enough to be meaningful to local policymakers, justice system professionals, and members of civil society. Additionally, these indicators should be both simple enough for most people to understand and nuanced enough to reflect important details of justice at the local level.
The project team worked with policymakers, justice system managers, and members of civil society in each site to develop consensus around the key factors that, if well documented, can provide insight into the operation of justice institutions. The resulting 60 indicators—focusing on the operation of the government, courts, police, and corrections—were explicitly designed to assess the experiences of poor people, women, and other vulnerable groups. The project then tested these measures in four cities around the world: Chandigarh, India; Lagos, Nigeria; New York, United States; and Santiago, Chile. The methodology for developing the indicators and the pilots' results can be found in the project report, “Developing Indicators to Measure the Rule of Law: A Global Approach.” Altus continues to provide a global network to test the methodology and engage regional partners to build local capacity and expand this work.
For more information, please contact Caitlin Gokey.