Experts conclude investigative mission to support administrative justice reform in Tunisia

ILAC experts and members of the regional administrative chamber of Sousse meet during the mission


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A team of ILAC experts finalised a baseline study this month of the Tunisian Administrative Tribunal´s court administration and rollout of 12 new chambers throughout the country. The mission represents an effort to support the decentralisation and good governance of administrative justice in Tunisia, with the report intended to point towards recommendations for a more enhanced and accountable court administration system.

The Tunisian Administrative Tribunal is responsible for resolving disputes between individuals and the government, and while it has up until recently been centralised in Tunis, the rollout has proceeded slower than planned. Although some courts have been up and running, others remain understaffed and there is a lack of public awareness of their their mandate and in some cases, even their existence.

ILAC´s team examined the Tribunal’s organisational framework, caseflow management, human resources administration and digitalisation of case information. “Our intention is to offer a provisional roadmap for the court administration management to make the Administrative Tribunal more effective and well-functioning in terms of procedures while also being more responsive to citizens when seeking redress,” said Shane Quinn, team leader and ILAC´s Director of Programmes.

First steps of judgments are still to be digitalised, leading to actual massive piles of case reports in chambers.

ILAC´s preliminary findings show that causes of the delays in judgements is mainly down to the lack of modern case management procedures, an overly bureaucratic and cumbersome registration process and inadequate communication with citizens waiting on judgements.

Encouragingly, the Administrative Tribunal itself has outlined areas for improvement prior to the study started, particularly with regard to bolstering the skills of court clerks and acknowledging that judgements need to be delivered in a more reasonable timeframe. ILAC and the Administrative Tribunal will continue to work in partnership to ensure that it has the capacity to reach these goals in the future.

ILAC’s team met with the Secretary General and Vice President of the Administrative Tribunal in Tunis, the President of the regional chamber of Sousse as well as with other Presidents of Chambers in the First Instance, Appeals and Supreme Administrative Court.

ILAC’s team included:

Roger Bilodeau, National Center for State Courts´ member and Chief Registrar of the Canadian Supreme Court;

Sally Swartz, individual member, co-founder of Artus Wise Partners and past president of the American Bar Association;

Ismaël Benkhalifa, ILAC´s Tunisia Team Coordinator;

Sélim Ben Abdesselem, ILAC´s Senior Legal Expert in Tunisia; and

Shane Quinn, Team Leader and ILAC´s Director of Programmes.

The report will be concluded and published in April, 2018.