September 18, 2019

Costa Rica: Strengthening Justice Through Participation

The suspicious management of pensions and salaries in Costa Rica’s judicial branch left citizens feeling disconnected from their own courts, often ranked as the least trusted institutions in several countries in Latin America.

Worried that citizen trust in judicial institutions would not be restored, the government agreed to partner with civil society to create an open justice policy that will allow citizens, organizations, and others to monitor justice processes more closely and make legal resources more available. For the first time ever, and in an effort to make the process more inclusive, government officials used courts in areas outside of the capital city to hear from those rarely consulted in decision-making processes. Eventually, the government and civil society hope to design a regional strategy to share their experience enhancing access to justice across countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, potentially becoming a regional leader in open justice.

In addition to ensuring transparency, accountability and collaboration in the courts, Costa Rica’s work to open justice is helping the country take important steps in implementing SDG16 (Access to Justice).