The Group agreed at its 1st meeting that research should be undertaken to create a survey instrument for the collection of data relating to judicial corruption in order that specific problem areas may be identified and the effectiveness of subsequent reforms tracked. While not denying the validity of public perception surveys, the Chief Justices felt that the experience of actual court-users and other stakeholders would be more useful in identifying systemic weaknesses in the judicial process and enabling these to be remedied. At its 2nd meeting, the draft survey instruments were examined and approved, and the Chief Justices of Uganda, Nigeria and Sri Lanka agreed to undertake pilot programmes in their respective jurisdictions. After the conclusion of the three national surveys, the survey instruments were evaluated by CEAT and its report obtained.
The reports of these pilot programmes have been published.14 The Group noted that the principal systemic weaknesses identified in the surveys of court users and other stakeholders conducted in the pilot programmes were:
(a) Lack of adequate training for judges;
(b) Delay and lethargy in the judicial system;
(c) Length of court proceedings;
(d) Lack of skill in the English language amongst some judges;
(e) The disappearance of court records;
(g) Inappropriate socialising of judges and lawyers;
(h) Variations in sentencing;
(i) Delay in delivering judgments;
(j) Expensive private legal serves; and
(k) Unofficial payments required to be made for various administrative activities inherent in the judicial process.
The Group’s determinations in this regard are attached as Annex A. 10