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The Access to Justice Programme in Pakistan

Mohammad Amin's picture

To reduce the enormous backlog of court cases, Pakistan enacted the “Access to Justice Programme” in 2002. Case-flow management techniques were taught to judges in 6 pilot districts out of 117, with the aim of facilitating rapid case disposal. Beyond this immediate aim, a more efficient judiciary can also have important economic effects by, for example, providing more secure property rights and better enforcement of creditor rights. Greater security of property rights increases the return from investment, which encourages entrepreneurship, and the better enforcement of creditor rights makes it easier for banks to lend to current and future entrepreneurs. In short, one would predict an increase in entrepreneurship as a result of a more efficient judiciary. Did this prediction come true in Pakistan?

A recent study by Matthieu Chemin (2009, Journal of Public Economics) finds that in the year following the reform and in the affected districts, the legal situation improved substantially with judges disposing of 25% more cases; also, investors reported being much more confident of obtaining bank loans. As a consequence, the proportion of the unemployed applying for permits or seeking land, buildings or machinery to establish enterprises tripled. This led to a 30% increase in the transition from being unemployed to being an employer or self-employed. A similar increase occurred from being an employee to being an employer or self-employed.

The study concludes that the reform was worth the effort: it cost $350 million or 0.1% of Pakistan’s 2002 GDP and the estimated economic benefit was equal to 0.5% of GDP. While there is no certainty that what worked in Pakistan will work elsewhere too, I think the study makes it clear that it would be worth a try.


Submitted by Khwaja Aftab Ali on
Who says there is no feudal in Pakistan. Rural Pakistan is control by the feudal, even in urban areas one can see the people who work hard and other who exploit the situation and make money in the name of Muslim saints or family lands. Our ruling class of so called politicians is from feudal and then industrialist follow them for power in authoritarian society. Law making body-the Majlish Shora, parliament -the senate , national assembly, provincial assembly and district council , every where the members are feudal, indusrialists, drug barons and /or Rtd. corrupt police officers with few Rtd, army officers as well. The writer of the this article and a leading scholar Dr. Aisha Siddiqa is also from feudal class with extra ordinary intelligence. I agree with some people that one should do some thing instead of suggestions. I have done some thing by leaving my home land as it’s hopeless there; unless there is rule of law not the law of ruler and we should follow the rule accordingly. Very simple law of inheritance can change our country’s future. What ever law we follow, Islamic or British- Muslim personal law, the property should be divided accordingly after the death of a person in a reasonable time but what happen in our country- this is the basic problem. If division of property is done by the law, there will be no feudal and if there is no feudal: the country will flourish. See rest of the world specially the developed world where majority people from under developed countries want to come. All the best for the rest of the people all over the world. KHWAJA AFTAB ALI, Advocate & I.P. Attorney in Pakistan, presently living in Florida, USA

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