On average, it costs users of local, paralegal services in Sierra Leone US $8.44 to access the service, far below what it costs to access the formal justice system. According to a new report on the Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone, without these community-based justice services, the government would spend approximately US $23.3M to support access to justice services through the formal justice system. This compares with approximately US $18.3M to access community-based justice services. This is among several important findings from a first-of-its-kind study by the Center for Alternative Policy Research & Innovation on The Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone.
The report makes 10 recommendations for scaling up paralegal-based justice services, including:
- Establishing a National Legal Empowerment Fund;
- Funding exploratory research;
- Further reducing out-of-pocket costs to access community-based justice services;
- Meaningfully integrating community-based justice services in the broader justice sector; and
- Building robust and efficient monitoring and evaluation systems.
The Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone by Felix Marco Conteh, Yakama Manty Jones, Sonkita Conteh, Henry Mbawa and Aisha Fofana Ibrahim (CAPRI) is available online here: https://www.caprisl.org/post/the-costs-and-benefits-of-community-based-justice-in-sierra-leone.
This project was funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and is one of the final research outputs from a multi-country research initiative on Community-Based Justice Research.