Peru: Study finds that access to justice programme increases the use of formal dispute resolution mechanisms

February 2, 2011 at 11:07 pm Leave a comment

In the 1990s Peru expanded the access to justice in selected underserved areas. The program aimed to make justice more accessible through so called “one-stop” service centers called Modullos Basisos Justicia. These were composed of judges, prosecutors, public defenders, police officers and the court, making the most important judicial services available in the same building. The intervention was designed to improve judicial coverage in populations located far from important urban centres where most of the courts are located, by reducing transport time, increasing judicial demand and the rate of judges per inhabitant.

Recently published impact evaluation study explores how Modullos Basisos Justicia impacted several outcome indicators:

–          Use of informal and formal mechanisms (hypothesis: the intervention will shift problems to the formal system);

–          Consumption of complimentary services such as hiring of lawyers (hypothesis: increase in the use of legal services provided by lawyers);

–          Number of conflicts that are resorted to a judges and solved;

–          Incidence of conflicts;

–          Number of conflicts involving domestic violence, probability of obtaining child support and the risk of land expropriation;

“The main findings of the paper regarding utilization are that when services are provided they are  used, and utilization shifts away from traditional mechanisms to state-sponsored mechanisms.  The  results are both empirically robust and large in magnitude, with a shift in 16 percentage points  toward formal resolution of conflicts.  We also see the use of lawyers increase substantially in the  areas where the program intervened (about 10 percentage points in comparison to the control areas).

However, the results also point to improvement in outcomes associated with an increase in the  percentage of conflicts resolved, and in the case of child support, an increase in child support  payments.  There were no results in other type of conflicts, although this may be due to small  sample sizes in each of these cells, limiting the power of the estimator.  Finally, the results indicate a  reduction of the order of 4 percentage points in the proportion of residents who report having had  an incidence of conflict.  This result, which is unexpected, may reflect lower levels of conflicts  initiated, due to a higher degree of impunity, be it real or perceived.”

Read the whole study here



Entry filed under: Access to Justice, Costs of justice, Dispute Resolution, Impact Assessment, Peru.

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