RESEARCH AND PROJECTS

JSCA’s Research and Projects Area is directed by Marco Fandiño and has a full staff of professional researchers. The team focuses on four main areas:

The first is improving access to civil justice, particularly for the most vulnerable sectors of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean. This work is possible thanks to the support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) through the project “Improving Access to Civil Justice in Latin America.”

The second is the development of projects related to access to justice, in which the support of the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) plays a key role. 

Third, the team analyzed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on judicial systems. 

Finally, the JSCA Research and Projects Area promotes policies designed to target corruption and impunity and substantially improve the management of the entities responsible for prosecution, conviction and reinsertion in the area of criminal justice.

Study and Promotion of Civil Procedure Reforms in Latin America

This initiative, which formally began in 2016, is designed to generate knowledge of the main challenges in civil justice reform; identify barriers to access to judicial and extra-judicial dispute resolution mechanisms; and provide technical assistance for the implementation of reforms or pilot plans based on objective, high-quality information.

It also includes training activities for future decision-makers in public and private institutions. 

Throughout the life of this project, JSCA has implemented over 10 pilot projects involving the development of innovative models in local contexts. These short-term initiatives are designed to improve the models so that they can be applied to the entire proposed judicial space.

The Center also has completed over 20 technical assistance projects for various justice system institutions in countries such as Paraguay, Costa Rica, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Nicaragua.

In this context of creation and dissemination of knowledge, we have drafted over 80 thematic reports thanks to the support of GAC. These publications have been widely distributed throughout Latin America. We also have held 30 seminars to discuss and disseminate knowledge. These events have been attended by over 12,000 people, the great majority of them (68%) women.

The following initiatives have been developed as part of the project:

On December 18, 2018, the National Court of Justice of Peru approved the creation and work of the Oral Civil Corporate Litigation Module of the Arequipa Superior Court through Administrative Resolution No. 312-2018-CE-PJ.

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JSCA and the Mexico City judiciary executed a pilot project to implement oral litigation techniques in oral civil courts in Mexico City. The initiative was implemented in 2019 with funding from GAC.

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In 2018, JSCA’s team began to develop a draft law for a General Procedure Code in Chubut. The goal was to move towards a comprehensive civil and commercial, family, labor and contentious-administrative justice reform in the province.

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In April 2019, the La Pampa Province Superior Court signed a general collaboration agreement with JSCA as well as a specific agreement to implement a civil judicial office in Santa Rosa to support five civil and commercial courts that operate in the capital.

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JSCA and Costa Rica’s judiciary presented the “Litigation Manual for Oral Hearings in Costa Rica’s New Civil Justice System” for attorneys and the “Manual for Oral Hearing Management in Costa Rica’s New Civil Justice System” for judges.

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One focus area of the GAC project “Improving Access to Civil Justice in Latin America” is monitoring how civil disputes are handled in the region.

To that end, JSCA designed and implemented the region’s first Observatory on Civil Conflict and Access to Justice (OCCA).

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One of the key strategic lines developed by JSCA during this period involved efforts to guarantee access to justice for all of the region’s inhabitants.

In 2016, we sponsored a regional competition entitled “Contributions to Building an Inter-American Repository on the Right to Access to Justice.”

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In January of 2019, JSCA and the German Cooperation Agency GIZ DIRAJus launched a project focused on understanding how recognition of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights works in the Latin American signatory countries of the San Salvador Protocol and other agreements.

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Improving Access to Justice in Latin America

Under this premise, and with the support of GIZ through the International Regional Law and Access to Justice in Latin America Program (DIRAJus), JSCA developed a series of actions designed to promote access to justice policies in the region. These were mainly focused on improving criminal procedure standards in Central America.

To that end, our team worked on the following projects:

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Judicial Systems

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic posed major challenges to the continent’s judicial systems beginning in 2020. It revealed significant lacks and gaps between States and their citizens as well as the importance of continuing to modernize policy decisions and incorporating faster, more innovative tools that allow officials to work more closely with members of the public.

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A total of 42 organizations participated in the report representing 17 countries, namely: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Nearly all of the countries in the region suspended or limited judicial activities, which meant that citizens did not have adequate means to channel their disputes. The authors focused on the lack of access and availability of justice services in this context.

In most of the countries, judicial activities were reduced to a “minimum level of service” without an increase in judiciaries’ capacity to respond to the additional demand produced by COVID-19.

Use of ICTs has accelerated and expanded due to the pandemic in judiciaries throughout the region, though only seven countries adopted a differential approach designed to reduce the digital divide.

Constitutional states of emergency were issued in 12 of the 17 countries analyzed, and Executive Branches began to consolidate functions. Judicial functions were suspended in eight countries.

The judiciaries responded in a limited way to the need to generate organizational changes and innovations, and they were perceived by survey respondents as ineffective when it came to resolving disputes generated due to the pandemic.

The pandemic exacerbated the barriers that prevent at-risk groups from accessing justice services. Free legal assistance was impacted by the suspension of justice services and changes in the approaches used to provide them.

In March 2019, we presented a full report titled “Proposals for the Honduran Justice System in the Treatment and Management of High Social Impact and Corruption Cases” in Tegucigalpa (Honduras).

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Uruguay’s new criminal justice system entered into force in November 2017.

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In 2014, JSCA published the report “Evaluation of the Impact of the New Management Model of Guatemala’s Public Prosecution Service” with funding from the Open Society Justice Initiative. It addressed the organizational changes implemented during the term of Prosecutor General Claudia Paz y Paz.

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In 2013, the OAS charged JSCA with developing a consultancy on and providing technical support to strengthen the Haitian judicial system, which had been impacted by various political, social, humanitarian, health and economic circumstances over the past decade.

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Strengthening Criminal Justice Systems and Fighting Corruption and Impunity

Información Institucional

Informe de Gestión
Centro de Estudios de Justicia de las Américas
2014-2021

Director responsable:
Jaime Arellano Quintana

Redacción y edición:
Leandra Medina
Claudio Soto
Aira Maya
Erika Rojas

Diseño y diagramación:
Marco González
Juan Núñez
Sandra Araneda

Imágenes:
Banco fotográfico institucional

Fotografías:
Esteban Rosales

Registro de propiedad intelectual:
2021-A-9892
ISBN:
978-956-8491-87-1

Esta Memoria de Gestión se encuentra disponible en: www.cejamericas.org y todas sus redes sociales.

Management
Report

2014-2021