Bangladesh: Supreme Court Improves Caseflow Management

On January 14 and 21, 2017, NCSC and the Supreme Court of Bangladesh co-organized two feedback workshops with 55 subordinate court judges and Supreme Court justices to review preliminary concepts for the drafting of a Judicial Case Management Policy. The development of the policy is one of several steps in the Supreme Court’s efforts to exercise its authority to self-govern and to address known weaknesses in the administration of justice by the subordinate courts. The Bangladesh judiciary has millions of cases backlogged and case processing is affected by long delays. During the workshops, participants worked in small groups to define and review proposed guidelines to address key case processing obstacles in civil and criminal cases, at the pre-trial, trial, and post-judgment phases. Recommended guidelines include strict scheduling and adjournment policies, pre-trial case screening, use of ADR, active witness management, and oversight by presiding judges.

Since the workshops, NCSC has worked closely with the Office of the Registrar General of the Supreme Court to refine concepts and prioritize recommendations. A draft of the policy is expected to be submitted to the Supreme Court’s Reform Committee in the coming weeks for validation and issuance under the Supreme Court’s rule-making power. The Supreme Court has the competence to issue guidelines and rules to improve the administration of justice and governance in the subordinate courts. Once adopted, the policy will become mandatory for judges to follow in processing their caseloads and is expected to improve efficiency in case processing, enabling subordinate courts to better serve the public.

NCSC is present in Bangladesh as USAID’s implementing partner for the Justice for All Program (JFA), a five-year initiative that aims to improve legal aid, strengthen judicial governance, and expand legal literacy in Bangladesh. JFA is active in fifteen of Bangladesh’s 64 Districts. For more information on the JFA Program, please visit www.justice-bd.org.