The central question to be addressed in this article is: what does this empirical evidence tell us about the nature and effectiveness of judicial reform in Asia?
This case study of the judicial reform program of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) experience 1990-2007 is framed within the global context of substantial growth, underwhelming results, and continuing evolution of approach in an ongoing search for success.
The case study marshals and evaluates a substantial body of new evidence from Asia which has been remarkably under-studied in the academic discourse. This body of experience contributes timely evidence of practice which is significant in supporting a number of key propositions. First, it reveals the still evolving nature of the judicial reform enterprise. Second, it demonstrates that ADB has created some ‘results’. Third, it remains difficult to find any evidence of ‘success’ owing to the continuing conceptual fuzziness in the purpose and goals of endeavor, and the continuing lack of systematic monitoring and evaluation. Fourth, there are some tentative indications of an emerging capacity to demonstrate developmental effectiveness. While this evidence generally conforms to the global literature, the recency of endeavor in this region reveals a dynamic process of evolution, and highlights the incubation of a potentially paradigmatic shift in reform approach.