Agege Community Meeting, Lagos ©

Nick Cavanagh/Nigeria Justice for All Programme

Cross-sector co-ordination, planning and joint working in the Nigerian justice sector is not commonplace and where it does occur is largely ad hoc and unstructured. 

Our work focuses on a more structured approach to co-ordination and joint working that has the potential to make a significant impact on individual justice processes and the sector as a whole.

What people say about J4A's work

'Training and support on project management, communications and publicity enabled the Enugu State Justice Reform Team to complete the stalled cases project and dispose of more than 200 cases.'

- Member of the Enugu State Justice Reform Team

Our aim

  • Demonstrate the positive impact of joint working within Nigeria’s justice sector
  • Help service delivery organisations in the justice sector understand the value of co-ordination, joint planning and working
  • Support selected co-ordination groups to become an established part of the justice landscape - at federal and state level (Enugu, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna) - and around issues such as violence against women and legislative advocacy
  • Encourage other states and organisations involved in the delivery of justice to replicate the Justice Reform Team model

The creation and/or development of sector-wide justice sector reform co-ordination groups and co-ordination groups around specific justice sector issues:

  • activities to improve co-operation, planning and joint working
  • the implementation of specific justice sector reforms lead by co-ordination groups
  • coalitions of civil society organisations and service delivery organisations to work together to improve service/drive important legislation through the National Assembly/ State Houses of Assembly

Our approach

  • Researching issues affecting the justice sector
  • Legislative advocacy: encouraging the development of bills/laws on specific issues
  • Disseminating information on the benefits of co-ordination and successful initiatives
  • Creating awareness on effectiveness and successful initiatives
  • Creating awareness on effectiveness of co-operation
  • Developing joint, and thereby widely accepted, plans for service delivery

Delivering results

  • The most recent meeting of the Network of Justice Reform Teams (JRTs) had representation from 19 states (including FCT)
  • Project management, capacity and team-building retreat organised for the Anambra State JRT in March 2014
  • Four JRTs are working or plan to work on clearing stalled cases from the courts
  • Three JRTs have expressed an interest to replicate Katsina’s legal aid initiative utilising Nigerian Youth Service Corps (NYSC) trainees
  • The Human Rights Agenda Network has developed plans to improve the capacity of its civil society organisations' members in core skills and has rolled out Training the Trainer courses in 12 states
  • 18 Co-ordination Groups created and functioning
  • 79 J4A-supported Co-ordination Group initiatives agreed and 56 implemented from 2011 to 2014

Spotlight on gender

  • Many Justice Reform Teams (JRTs) have identified the passing and implementation of the Child Rights Act as a priority for reform in their state
  • A group of civil society organisations in Kano have formed a group called Gender Coalition on Access to Justice (GCAJ) to promote women’s rights
  • The Federal KRT has drafted Family Court Rules and is working with the judiciary to properly implement family courts in FCT