2014 SCID Symposium – Fraser Hirst – The Role of Community-Based Dispute Resolution in Justice Sector Reform: The Example of Helmand Province, Afghanistan

In this presentation, Fraser Hirst explores issues relating to incorporating initiatives to support community based dispute resolution systems within justice sector reform programmes. Fraser provides an overview of community based dispute resolution systems in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan in 2008/2009 and ways in which initiatives to support them were incorporated into the initial justice reform programme, when he was Senior Justice Adviser of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) there. The Chapter draws a number of lessons learnt which have wider implications, and could usefully inform programmes elsewhere, including the need for a practical focus and innovative approaches on what will work and provide a practical benefit at the community level; the need to take a holistic approach to justice issues which takes account of all components of the justice system and the linkages between them; the need for programmes to be informed, driven and owned by the people they are designed to benefit; the need for thorough preparation and research; and the need for the programmes to be underpinned by incorporating human rights and gender issues as a cross-cutting issue in every aspect and at every stage of the programme.

Fraser Hirst has extensive experience in all aspects of justice development in conflict-affected states, specialising in Community Justice/Community Dispute Resolution and Justice for Children among other issues. He has previously worked as Head of the United Nations Legal System Monitoring Unit in Liberia, Head of UNICEF’s Justice for Children Project for Somalia, Senior Justice Adviser for Helmand Province in Afghanistan, and UK DFID Justice Adviser for Afghanistan. Other legal experience includes working as: Lawyer, Court Administrator/Registrar, Magistrate, Supreme Court Judge, Prosecutor and Attorney General.

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