Access to Justice (SL0020)
Action Plan: Sierra Leone National Action Plan 2016-2018
Action Plan Cycle: 2016
Lead Institution: Sierra Leone Police
Support Institution(s): Office of the Master and Registrar and Sierra Leone Police; Campaign for Good Governance, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Society for Democratic Initiative
Policy AreasCapacity Building, Public Service Delivery, Records Management, Security
Status quo or problem/ issue to be addressed
The citizens do not have access to information on court cases and there are certain cases which require mediation and can be settled out of court.
Increase transparency in case management and establish structures at the local level to improve access to justice
Brief Description of Commitment (140 character limit)
Local structures will be established to address justice issues and government will publish on a quarterly basis updates on all cases starting July 2016
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Commitment 9. Access to Justice
Commitment Text: Local structures will be established to address justice issues and government will publish on a quarterly basis updates on all cases starting July 2016.
- Activate child mediation panels with stakeholders in all nineteen councils
- Have pictures and finger prints evidence for offenders
- Quarterly publication of all cases that go through the justice system
- Setting mediation panels in all Police stations
Responsible institution: Sierra Leone Police.
Supporting institution(s): Office of the Master and Registrar, Campaign for Good Governance, Center for Accountability and Rule of Law, Society for Democratic Initiative.
Start date: July 2016 End date: June 2018
This commitment aimed to improve access to justice by increasing transparency in case management and establishing arbitration structures at local levels. The efficacy of the judiciary in Sierra Leone is hampered by many factors, including corruption, lack of resources, unprofessionalism of the police, overcrowding in prisons, challenges in juvenile services, and citizens’ lack of information on judicial matters. The commitment aimed to address some of these issues with specific focus on publishing case management information, and handling juvenile cases through local-level structures at police stations and local councils.
Completion of the commitment was limited by the midterm. The milestone concerned with offenders’ pictures and fingerprint evidence (Milestone 2) was completed before the action plan was developed. No other milestones were started. For more information, please see the 2016−2018 midterm report. 
End of term: Limited
Milestone 1: The government did not initiate child mediation panels with stakeholders in any of the nineteen councils, as confirmed by CSOs involved with justice issues. 
Milestone 2: This requirement to have police investigators take pictures and fingerprint evidence of offenders is a routine procedure in the investigation of sexual offences.  It means therefore that the milestone was completed before the action plan came into effect.
Milestone 3: There was no public quarterly publication of cases that went through the courts. 
Milestone 4: As confirmed by CSOs, case mediation panels were not established in police stations.
Did it open government?
Access to information: Did not change
Highlighted among the challenges in the judiciary was the lack of transparency in case management, obstructing people’s ability to know which judges were assigned to their cases and the dates for hearings following adjournments. CSOs highlighted a specific need for increased public access to information on court dates, assigned magistrates, and adjournments.  As there has been no progress on the milestones, with the exception of those completed before the action plan, the commitment did not change government practice.
The government had not released the third action plan at the time of this report. The commitment should be carried forward into the next action plan focusing only on providing information on court dates, case adjournment information, and magistrates assigned to cases.
 Charlie Hughes, Sierra Leone Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (OGP, 9 Jul. 2018), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/sierra-leone-mid-term-report-2016-2018-year-1/.
 Bernadette French (Program Manager, Campaign for Good Governance) and Hassan Fouad Kanu (Executive Director, Youth and Child Advocacy Network), interview with IRM researcher, 9 Aug. 2018; Prince Bull-Luseni (Program Officer, Center for Accountability and Rule of Law), interview with IRM researcher, 28 Aug. 2018.
 Bernadette French (Program Manager, Campaign for Good Governance) and Prince Bull-Luseni (Program Officer, Center for Accountability and Rule of Law), interview with IRM researcher, 28 Aug. 2018.
Sierra Leone's Commitments
SL0012, 2016, Capacity Building
Foriegn Aid Transparency
SL0013, 2016, Aid
SL0014, 2016, Capacity Building
Fiscal Transparency and Open Budget
SL0015, 2016, E-Government
SL0016, 2016, Audits and Controls
SL0017, 2016, Capacity Building
SL0018, 2016, E-Government
Record Archive Management
SL0019, 2016, E-Government
Access to Justice
SL0020, 2016, Capacity Building
Open Public Procurement Contracting
SL0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Publish and Revise 70% of Mining and Agricultural Lease Agreements and Contracts
SL0009, 2014, E-Government
Right to Access Information Law
SL0010, 2014, Capacity Building
Open Data Portal for Transparency in Fiscal and Extractive Transactions
SL0011, 2014, E-Government
Public Integrity Pact with 5 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies
SL0001, 2014, Conflicts of Interest
Archives and Records Management Act
SL0002, 2014, E-Government
Scale up Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate
SL0003, 2014, Public Participation
Compliance with Audit Measures
SL0004, 2014, Audits and Controls
Single Treasure Account
SL0005, 2014, Extractive Industries
Extractive Industry Revenue Act
SL0006, 2014, Extractive Industries
Scaling up Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives
SL0007, 2014, Extractive Industries
Local Content Policy (LCP) Linkages with MDAs
SL0008, 2014, Capacity Building