Evaluation of the International Legal Programs Section

The International Legal Programs Section (ILPS) supports Canada’s development assistance and foreign policy priorities through the delivery of legal technical assistance projects. These projects promote foundational Canadian values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in different countries of the world. The work of ILPS is grounded in the sharing and transferring of Canadian legal expertise and knowledge regarding principles of the administration of justice in Canada that contribute to the construction, reform and strengthening of legal systems of other countries.  The Section is also called upon to provide strategic advice on justice reform matters.

What Was Found

  • The provision of technical assistance by ILPS is consistent with the Government of Canada’s “whole-of-government” approach of promoting Canada’s democratic values in targeted countries and regions around the world, and strengthening the rule of law as a means of supporting social and economic development and security.
  • ILPS serves a general advisory and policy-development role in the Department and within the federal government as a centre of both theoretical and practical expertise on international legal technical assistance.
  • Many foreign countries recognize and respect Canada’s extensive experience in the rule of law and its assistance to countries, ministries and institutions wanting to improve their legal systems. ILPS has been providing government-to-government technical assistance to foreign countries seeking to modernize their justice system because of its expertise and competencies, credibility, and experience developing and managing legal technical assistance projects.
  • While ILPS has the mandate to carry out legal technical assistance, the evaluation found that it is not well articulated or well known.
  • There are various types of international legal technical assistance work undertaken within the Department but there is no central point of coordination for requests of this type of assistance. Other sections within the Department provide technical assistance on an ad hoc basis and focus on Canadian law. Whereas, ILPS provides technical assistance to foreign countries wanting to reform their justice sector, and consequently projects are more targeted, comprehensive, and tied to specific priorities and outcomes. The projects focus mainly on addressing institutional capacity and legal and judicial system foundations by strengthening justice ministries; developing legal resource centres; and strengthening legislative drafting functions.

Recommendations:

  • that the ILPS clearly define its vision and mission statement and communicate them as well as its roles and responsibilities to relevant sections within the Department and to other appropriate federal departments and agencies;
  • that the ILPS improve its internal knowledge management and transfer capabilities to retain corporate memory and to strengthen its capacity to plan and develop technical assistance projects;
  • that the ILPS apply a standardized approach to recording data in iCase in order to improve the overall data integrity, therefore making it possible to assist with workflow tracking, to measure and compare the demands for its services, and to analyze trends over time; and
  • that the ILPS initiate discussions with the Contracting and Materiel Management Division to explore options for international contracting.

About The Evaluation

In accordance with the 2009 Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation, this evaluation addresses both the relevance and performance of the Section using four (4) lines of inquiry, and covers the work of ILPS between 2009/10 and 2013/14. This is the first evaluation of the Section.

For the full report, please visit the Evaluation Division website.

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