Judicial Service Commission Maldives Begins New Judicial Performance Evaluation Project

On 30 November 2021 Maldives Judicial Service Commission met for the inauguration of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Pilot Project in Maldives. The meeting was attended by the Chair of the Judicial Service Commission, Hisaan Hussain, UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Enrico Gaveglia, members of the Judicial Service Commission and Judge Malcolm Simmons, an expert in justice and rule of law. Judge Simmons is currently advising the Maldives Judicial Service Commission on the rollout of the judicial performance evaluation pilot project. Judge Simmons has also written the new judicial training curriculum and trained judicial trainers.

The first draft of the judicial performance evaluation policy was written by the American Bar Association and subsequently developed by Judge Simmons. During the inception phase of the project, Judge Simmons trained evaluators and met with the judges who will be evaluated. Judge Simmons will continue to support and guide the evaluators throughout the evaluation process.

During the inaugural meeting, Judge Simmons explained that as part of the pilot project, judges of the Senior Courts would be evaluated. Evaluators will review the performance of each judge during the preceding two years with particular emphasis on matters such as integrity, freedom from impropriety and from the appearance of impropriety, knowledge and understanding of the law, fairness, preparedness and punctuality, diligence, communication skills, managerial skills, and public and professional service. The evaluation will also assist evaluators in assessing judicial independence and impartiality.

Judicial performance evaluation programmes have most commonly been used to provide useful feedback to judges and the public, to increase transparency, consistency and accountability of the judicial system, to improve case and court management, and to promote greater public understanding of the courts.
Judge Simmons stated “It is expected that the roll out of the judicial performance evaluation policy in Maldives will promote accountability and instil public confidence in the judicial system in many ways. The assessments made as part of the evaluation process will inform citizens about the quality of the work of a judge, their knowledge of law, and their ability to apply the law objectively. Evaluation programmes also ensure that judges are accountable to the judiciary as an institution. Through this process it is expected that the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the justice system in Maldives will improve thereby further enhancing public confidence in the administration of justice.”
The Maldives judiciary has embraced performance evaluation and continue to work with the project team to implement an effective process.

Malcolm Simmons served as an international judge from 2004 to 2017 hearing war crime and serious and organised crime cases including murder, serious sexual offences, drug trafficking and complex financial crime. He served as President of EU International Judges from 2014 to 2017. He is particularly well-known for his judicial reform work.