The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Envisioning Reform

Envisioning Reform

Conceptual and Practical Obstacles to Improving Judicial Performance in Latin America Linn Hammergren
  • Copyright: 2007
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 360 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-02933-7
“Lynn Hammergren’s outstanding book addresses one of the most important questions in democracy studies today—how to strengthen the rule of law through judicial reform. Her treatment of this subject is original, critical, richly informed, and comprehensive. I recommend the book to practitioners and academic researchers with equal enthusiasm.”
“Hammergren’s insightful and carefully nuanced criticisms of Latin American judicial reform projects are truly impressive. This book is a tour de force that should be read by anyone interested in judicial reform, as well as by anyone interested in the role of the judiciary in Latin American countries.”

Judicial reform became an important part of the agenda for development in Latin America early in the 1980s, when countries in the region started the process of democratization. Connections began to be made between judicial performance and market-based growth, and development specialists turned their attention to “second generation” institutional reforms. Although considerable progress has been made already in strengthening the judiciary and its supporting infrastructure (police, prosecutors, public defense counsel, the private bar, law schools, and the like), much remains to be done.

Linn Hammergren’s book aims to turn the spotlight on the problems in the movement toward judicial reform in Latin America over the past two decades and to suggest ways to keep the movement on track toward achieving its multiple, though often conflicting, goals. After Part I’s overview of the reform movement’s history since the 1980s, Part II examines five approaches that have been taken to judicial reform, tracing their intellectual origins, historical and strategic development, the roles of local and international participants, and their relative success in producing positive change. Part III builds on this evaluation of the five partial approaches by offering a synthetic critique aimed at showing how to turn approaches into strategies, how to ensure they are based on experiential knowledge, and how to unite separate lines of action.

Linn Hammergren is Senior Public Sector Specialist for the Latin American and Caribbean Region at the World Bank.



Introduction: Twenty Years of Reforms and Not a Consensus in Sight

Part I: Five Approaches to Judicial Reform

1. Criminal Justice Reform: Human Rights, Crime Control, and Other Unlikely Bedfellows

2. Judicial Modernization: Increasing the Efficiency and Efficacy of Court Actions

3. Developing a Professional, Institutionally Independent Judiciary

4. Access to Justice: Legal Assistance, Special Courts, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Beyond

5. Strengthening the Judiciary’s Role as a Check on Other Branches of Government

Part II: Problems and Remedies

6. Judicial Reform as a Problem of Focus: Why the Parts Don’t Add Up to a Coherent Whole

7. Improving the Knowledge Base for Judicial Reform Programs

8. Toward a New Strategic Model

9. A Political Agenda for Reforming the Reforms



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