UNDP Access to Justice and Informal Justice Systems Research Shan State

13 Dec 2017


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Myanmar commissioned the access to justice and informal justice systems research in three locations: Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States, which includes specific attention to informal justice systems.

The research sought to answer three main questions:
1. How do people seek access to justice?
2. What are people’s perceptions of, and trust and confidence in, the formal justice system?
3. What is the range of informal justice processes that exist in the local area, and how do they operate?

This report summarises the findings in Shan State. It is important to note that the findings are indicative rather than representative, because of the sampling methodology, and cannot be generalised to any wider population.

The title “One Acre of Land is Better Than Nothing” comes from the response of an interviewee who settled a land dispute through an informal justice process, but received far less than he felt entitled to. Despite this, he felt satisfied by the outcome of his dispute because his expectations for fair and equal treatment were very low – a sentiment shared by a majority of the respondents who settled their disputes through an informal system.

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