The Justice Reform Initiatives Support (JURIS) project was a five-year Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded project that began in February 2003 under the auspices of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through which the Government of Canada assisted the Government of the Republic of the Philippines with its judicial reform program under the Supreme Court-led Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR).
The overall objective of the JURIS project was to contribute to Philippine efforts to foster efficient, fair, responsive, transparent, and accountable governance at all levels. In particular, the project had worked to strengthen and promote more effective use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, and to strengthen support for access to justice reforms and catalyze supportive reform through engaging internal and external governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders in cooperative advocacy efforts. The specific objective of the JURIS Project was to support the Supreme Court’s (SC) Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR) related to ADR and access to justice by the poor and marginalized.
The ALG managed the Reform Advocacy component of the JURIS Project, and participated in the management of the entire JURIS Project through the Joint Project Steering Committee. Under the JURIS Project, the ALG launched and implemented advocacy campaigns on human rights and social justice issues, and worked with both policy makers and reform advocates. Through its Internship Program, the ALG contributed to the formation of law students as human rights advocates, and enhanced the curriculum of partner law schools through the inclusion of human rights subjects in their program.
The ALG also pursued test cases before the Supreme Court on public interest issues, and linked up with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and other legal advocacy groups. The ALG conducted a study on indigenous dispute resolution mechanisms. The study had two major components, with one focusing on indigenous peoples/tribes/communities and the other on Muslim communities in Mindanao.
With the strengthened capacity of the ALG as a major objective of the JURIS project, the coalition embarked on yearly capacity-building activities that enhanced the ALG’s ability to fulfill its dual role of effecting justice system reforms, and empowering poor and marginalized groups. The ALG conducted a continuing program of Gender Integration throughout the lifetime of the Project.