Improving Leadership Skills in Myanmar’s Changing Judiciary

Dec 14, 2017

The Myanmar Supreme Court (OSCU) and the Federal Court of Australia (FCA) are continuing their active collaboration, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to exchange knowledge on judicial leadership, change management, and effective data collection for reporting court statistics. Earlier this week two workshops lead by the Chief Registrar of the FCA, Mr. Warwick Soden, and the other headed by the FCA Business Intelligence Unit, Mr. Ahilan Mackinam – took place at the Park Royal in Nay Pyi Taw. Support to the Myanmar Supreme Court is part of UNDP’s broader work in the area of strengthening governance in Myanmar, funded by the Governments of Finland, Australia, the UK, and Sweden.

The workshop on judicial leadership centered around concrete steps that judicial leaders that work at the state and region levels can take to build public confidence in the judiciary. Heads of offices from State and Regional High Courts participated in exercises to identify actions to be taken to improve people’sperceptions and trust of the judiciary for resolving conflicts and disputes.  The participants also explored how to design a plan for the courts to take collective action, and where possible, specific actions tailored to specific courts, that improve performance and community outreach. “Improving the judiciary requires innovative thinking and allowing for diverse voices to be involved,” according to Mr. Soden. No single court official alone can solve these problems alone.

The data collection and analysis workshops are helping OSCU officials to identify what type of data and information is required and how to utlize the data and statiscs. . As underscored by Mr. Mackinam, there is a balance between collecting too much information and too little; being able to process and understand what the information means for managing the courts is not possible unless more critical thinking is applied to the review of any court statistics. He refered to the OSCU Annual Report as a good example; it contains rich sources of information, but could be improved with more more analysis.

The FCA and the OSCU signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions in June 2016. UNDP has supported this MOU since its inception, and has sent judicial officers to Australia for externships on how to create better annual reports, and has hosted several workshops on judicial leadership and change management in Nay Pyi Taw in 2016 and 2017.

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