Off-campus costs subproject

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Goal: This project combines a utilization-focused evaluation approach with a randomized field experiment to assess the effectiveness of a novel citizen-led strategy for improving judicial transparency and the rule of law: the videotaping and online archiving of court hearings.

In collaboration with an Ukrainian non-governmental organization, the Open Courts Project – a pioneer in the use of videotaping as a transparency initiative – we will examine whether citizen monitoring of court hearings can improve judges’ and prosecutors' adherence to procedural rules and lawyers’ perceptions of the judiciary’s fairness and independence. The randomized field experiment focuses on pre-trial detention hearings with the aim of curtailing widespread human rights abuses resulting from the incarceration of defendants without due process. Meanwhile, utilization-focused evaluation approaches will be employed to engage a wide variety of local stakeholders in the evaluation process. This will increase the utility of the data gathered and enhance stakeholders' ability to use the study findings to effect change. Primary intended users for the evaluation will participate in the design of the randomized field experiment, interpretation of the experiment’s results, and development of strategies for disseminating and utilizing the findings that go beyond written reports. Key stakeholders will include non-governmental organizations, activists, lawyers, law students, local researchers, judges, and the public at large.

The project will be organized around four objectives:

Objective 1: Engage stakeholders and primary intended users of citizen-led rule of law initiatives to improve the design of the randomized field experiment, maximize the utility of the study’s findings, and develop the capacity of local researchers to engage in program evaluations.

Objective 2: Increase transparency in the Ukrainian judicial system by expanding an ongoing citizen-led initiative to videotape and create an online archive of court sessions.

Objective 3: Evaluate the extent to which videotaping court sessions can increase judges' and prosecutors' adherence to procedural rules, professionalism, and effort; increase defense lawyers’ perceptions of the judiciary’s fairness and independence; and decrease the judiciary's reliance on pre-trial detention without due process.

Objective 4: Assess how stakeholders and primary intended users use the evaluation findings.

The project will consist of three sets of activities:

Activity 1: Two workshops on utilization-focused evaluation to be conducted with stakeholders and primary intended users. The first workshop will be held prior to the field experiment; the second will be held after.

Activity 2: A randomized field experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of the videotaping and online archiving of court hearings.

Activity 3: A meta-evaluation to assess how stakeholders and primary intended users use the evaluation findings.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date9/4/193/31/22

Funding

  • Department of State (SLMAQM19GR2131)

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