Justice Project Evaluation

Judge Malcolm Simmons

I recently attended a conference in Singapore at which the eminent Judge, Malcolm Simmons, gave a presentation on project evaluation with specific reference to projects relating to court reform.

Judge Simmons began by explaining the purpose of project evaluation and its role within the justice sector.  Crucially, he emphatically pressed the point that project evaluation was an evolving process that should commence at the very start of the project. Judge Simmons was critical of those who saw evaluation as something to be performed at the conclusion of the project. Evaluation performed throughout the life of the project provided opportunities for reassessment.

In summary, Judge Simmons explained that project evaluation required an assessment of (i) key Benchmarks; (ii) Index indicators and (iii) Output, outcome and system-wide impact indicators.

It is often useful to combine indicators (in order to (1) verify measurements by combining indicators measured by different types of data, and (2) obtain a multi-dimensional picture of a phenomenon by combining indicators that when put together provide “more than the sum of the parts”). Thereafter, an analysis of: (i) Impact; (ii) Outcome evaluation and (iii) Perceptional data.

This was an insightful presentation attended by senior members of regional ministries of justice, civil servants and court managers.