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Laying the foundations of good governance in Indonesia’s judiciary

Working paper

Written by Simon Hearn

Working paper

The courts are the backbone of the justice sector in Indonesia. It inherited a large part of its justice system from Dutch colonialists and until 1998, when the post-independence, authoritarian regime fell, was firmly under the control of the government. Following this, Indonesia has been in a long and deep process of reform of all aspects of government, including a consistent stream of reforms in the Supreme Court. Civil society organisations have long played an active role in informing and supporting these reforms.

This case study is one of three that contributes to an evaluation of civil society organisations' contributions to justice reform. The evaluation was commissioned by the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice (AIPJ) and undertaken by ODI in 2015 and 2016. The full report can be found here

This case study documents certain reforms within the Supreme Court as well as, to a lesser extent, the lower level courts in Indonesia. In particular, it examines the role of civil society organisations in supporting, and in some cases driving, these reforms and documents the changes within these organisations themselves.

It identifies and explains four significant changes which have contributed to improvements in the governance of the Supreme Court:

  • the implementation of the chamber system
  • the publication of court decisions
  • the acceleration of case handling
  • the development of the Small Claims Court in Indonesia.

Kwan Men Yon and Simon Hearn