DPLF works on judicial independence and transparency in Central America and Panama


The Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) is working hard to monitor and evaluate judicial independence of Central America.

Judicial independence and transparency do not go hand-in-hand in Central America. This is the first conclusion we can draw from the most recent DPLF study: “Law vs Reality. Independence and judicial transparency in Central America and Panama”. The second conclusion is that there is a considerable gap between policy and its effectiveness, which is most notacible in regards to judicial independence: although there is a legal framework to guarantee it, this guarantee is not met in practice. There are various reasons for this, among others, the lack of mechanisms to enforce the rules and the existence of a political culture of disrespect for the law.

This study has an empirical base which affirms the best bases for judicial independence in the region. This research was conducted in the six Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) according to a methodology of indicators and a thematic guide that allowed comparisons with homogenous criteria and showed the persistence of common problems, such as the politicization of the system and the appointment process, and the excessive power of the Supreme Court that threatens internal independence and limits transparency and accountability.

One of the main contributions of this study is that it breaks down the elements that make up both external and internal judicial independence, and identifies – for each country –the barriers that limit their full capacity.

Read the full report here. (comparative report, conlcusions, recommendations and methodologies)

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Passionate about justice and the rule of law in Central America? Apply for a World Justice Challenge grant!


There is one week left to apply to the World Justice Challenge, a seed-grant competition designed to inspire practical programs that advance justice and the rule of law. An initiative of the World Justice Project (WJP), the competition is designed to inspire individuals to take action to advance justice where they live or work by identifying where the rule of law is weak and creating a practical solution. Proposals may be created independently or in partnership with other organizations.

Selected programs will be supported by:

  • Modest seed grants—a typical seed grant is $10,000 to $25,000
  • Connections to key individuals in the WJP’s global network
  • Increased visibility through media and communications support

Previous grantees have included:

All programs are catalogued in the WJP’s Program Library, where visitors can find inspiration to create, replicate or adapt an idea in their own country.

Since its founding, the WJP has provided over $1,000,000 in financial, communications, and network support for programs to advance the rule of law on five continents. These programs—led by farmers, artists, engineers, etc.—show the diversity of approaches to strengthen the rule of law around the world.

The deadline to apply to the World Justice Challenge is January 15, 2014. Approximately 10 grantees will be selected.

For more information on how to apply, visit the World Justice Challenge or contact worldjusticechallenge@wjpnet.org.

About the blog:
This blog was created to support the Central America Network and encourage dialogue around relevant research, news and poverty alleviation efforts in the region.
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