Case Management Practical Guidelines for Judges
The CEELI Institute initiated the African Judicial Network in 2021, modelled on a similar initiative the Institute has been facilitating in Central and Eastern Europe since 2012. At the time of writing, the African Judicial Network includes judges from 11 Anglophone African countries: Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
The network is primarily composed of non-high court judges and focuses on expertise that can be used by individual judges in individual courtroom. It is meant to be an active network created by judges, for judges, with its substantive direction driven chiefly by the judges in the network’s Core Group.
Case management is one of the most crucial factors affecting efficient and timely delivery of justice. Proper case management requires significant investment in funds, personnel, and equipment, as well as the development of political will, all of which are too complex to be tackled by a single project or initiative. However, there is a range of measures that individual judges in individual courtrooms can take to significantly improve the management of their cases and reduce case backlogs. It is with those measures in mind that these guidelines have been drafted, using expertise from a number of network countries as brought forward by members of the Core Group, as well as from international partners.
This document thus aims to be relevant to individual judges, as well as to those responsible for developing policies and guidance for judicial practice, including members of judicial councils, court presidents, officials from judicial associations, and any other members of the judiciary who are responsible for regulating judges’ work practices. It considers basic principles of effective judicial case management before examining preparation and court management, including timing and prioritization, managing decisions, and cooperation with others. It includes, in the annexes, examples from various courts of tools and best practices on case management. While drafting this document, the CEELI Institute and the network judges referenced a wide range of materials and sources of information, including policies and recommendations by several international organizations.
These guidelines are made available, free of charge, to any interested judges and judiciaries in the region and beyond, in the hope they will find them a useful and practical tool.
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