Cost-Benefit Study on
Implementing Village Courts in Union Parishads (UPs) of Bangladesh

Research Team: Md. Shanawez Hossain, PhD and Nabila Zaman

Project: Bangladeh Priorities, Copenhagen Consensus Center

Research Brief: The study is a part of the project ‘Bangladesh Priorities’ at Copenhagen Consensus Centre. In this regard, the study proposes Village Courts as an intervention of judicial reform that leads to better governance in Bangladesh. The judicial system in Bangladesh has yet to outperform due to the great pressure from case backlogging. The Village Court Act has always been in operation; however due to insufficient resources, not all Upazilla Parishads (UPs) of Bangladesh have been provided with a Village Court. Currently 338 out of 350 proposed UPs have provisions for Village Courts which are implemented and monitored using EU and government funds by the partner institutions. Thus the aim of the study is to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to provide empirical evidence that such government-led interventions have the potential to enhance access to justice for the common citizens of Ups while also improving the governance process in the judicial system of Bangladesh. In other words, when there is a village court, a petitioner will require less time and psychological cost will reduce the opportunity cost of time and consequently, hourly income. Apart from our estimates of benefit-cost ratios, consultations with practitioners, academics and review of internal documents of the implementing partners will be done to prove the study hypothesis that  an intervention like that of a Village court has the capacity to provide better access to justice.

For more details about the Bangladesh Priorities Project please see: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/bangladesh-priorities