In December 1998, FJA was named an Executive Agent of a $5 million Judicial Cooperation Project with Ethiopia. During the initial two-year period, this project was temporarily put on hold due to the border conflicts with Eritrea. The project commenced its activities in July 2000.
This five-year project sought to contribute to the stability, security and sustained development of Ethiopia by promoting practices that would help achieve and sustain the rule of law. It further sought to reduce the administrative inefficiencies and delays of Ethiopian courts by strengthening the management and administrative capacity of the courts through the introduction of new practices, procedures and technologies.
The Court Administration Reform Project in Ethiopia significantly improved the efficiency of the courts by improving record keeping, case scheduling and tracking practices, accessibility to legal documents as well as a reduction in caseloads, improved quality and timeliness to produce court documents and judgments as well as appeal documents. It enhanced the management capacity of the courts by improving, through training, the management skills of the court personnel as well as the improved performance by support staff. The Project worked with the Ethiopian Bar Association to improve the equality and quality of justice. It provided gender training to court personnel, improved gender representation of judges at local courts, provided courts and the public with access to key court decisions, improved communication between the courts, provided plans for future restructuring of courts to improve the conditions of court operations as well as to improve service to the public.
Due to the impressive achievements of the project, it has been transformed into a national program and the Ethiopian government will now strive to expand its success to other courts of the country.