Doing Business Reforms
ENHANCING JUDICIAL EFFICIENCY
A judicial system that provides effective commercial dispute resolution is crucial to a healthy economy (1). Forty-nine economies worldwide made enforcing contracts easier in 2017/18, the highest rate of improvement ever recorded by Doing Business in this area. The expansion of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) framework was the most common reform feature, mainly owing to improvements in the 17 member states of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (known by its French acronym OHADA). The organization adopted a Uniform Act on Mediation in 2017, filling a legislative void that existed in most OHADA member states by introducing mediation as an amicable mode of dispute settlement. The OHADA Uniform Act adopts a broad scope of application by covering conventional and judicial mediation and sets out the guiding principles for the conduct of mediation.
The economies which improved the most this year in the area of enforcing contracts are Puerto Rico (territory of the United States), Niger and Denmark. Puerto Rico (territory of the United States) developed a web-based platform that offers lawyers a single access point for electronic filing of the initial complaint in civil matters and electronic payment of court fees. The system also allows lawyers and judges to manage case files actively throughout the litigation process. Since its inception in 2014, the system has gradually been developed and broadened to become operational in 11 out of the 13 Puerto Rican Judicial Districts. Denmark started the digitalization process of the civil courts’ system in 2015, which culminated in the implementation of a system that enables civil courts and parties to civil cases to apply an internet-based case portal for the submission and treatment of cases. The project started in 2016 with a pilot phase in selected courts and, by February 2018, all courts in Denmark implemented the system. Niger improved in the ease of enforcing contracts in 2017/18 by establishing a small claims procedure and by adopting the OHADA Uniform Act on Mediation. Furthermore, following the creation of a specialized commercial court in 2016, the time for trial and to obtain a judgment decreased.
Other economies strengthened judicial efficiency through the introduction of a specialized commercial court. Djibouti and Ethiopia, for example, introduced dedicated benches to resolve commercial disputes. The Kyrgyz Republic, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine strengthened their respective regulatory environments by amending civil procedure rules to introduce a pre-trial conference as part of the case management techniques used in court.
1. Ramello, Giovanni, and Stephen Voigt, 2012. “The Economics of Efficiency and the Judicial System”. International Review of Law and Economics 32: 1-2.
ENFORCING CONTRACTS REFORMS BY ECONOMY DB2008-DB2019