Institute for the Study and Development of Legal Systems












June 24-28
Berkeley, California

Conference Background Program Schedule

Innovations in Dispute Resolution
A Rule of Law Project

Executive Summary
The Institute for the Study and Development of Legal Systems ("ISDLS") has established an annual rule of law project to address the global need for access to justice (the "Project"). The Project will address critical problems in national civil and criminal justice processes. ISDLS will employ its successful methodology to solve these problems through an international conference and the establishment of a global communications network. This network will provide assistance in the reform of legal dispute resolution processes to all countries. Leading law reformers representing national legal study groups established by ISDLS in fifty countries throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East will participate in the Conference. During the week of June 24-28, 1998, the Conference will be hosted by the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, and will be held at the Haas School of Business and Management on the Berkeley campus.

The Problem
Many of the world’s legal processes provide inadequate protection or assistance because they have not developed the innovative mechanisms needed to resolve the growing volume of increasingly complex disputes. Because of this, public faith in public institutions and legal compliance remain low. These problems undermine the necessary conditions for economic development and democratic governance.

The Solution
To solve these problems, the Project will apply an innovative methodology developed by ISDLS. First, ISDLS will conduct an assessment of the practical operation and needs of the civil and criminal justice processes. Second, ISDLS will expose the attending countries to successful reform models designed to address common problems. Third, ISDLS will facilitate the adaptation of these models to meet the needs of each participating country. Finally, ISDLS will join participating national legal communities in a global network in order to disseminate the findings of the Conference and to monitor the progress of reform projects to be undertaken in each participating country. At each stage, the ISDLS will collaborate with a national legal study group established in each country to implement the methodology.

The Conference will include authoritative papers, lectures and demonstrations by the world’s leading legal reformers on the innovations in dispute resolution. Each session will be followed by general commentary from the attending countries. More specific commentary will be developed in the smaller afternoon workshops. Each day a panel will address the direct relationship between problems in these processes and the greater investment risks and criminal justice issues.

ISDLS, a nonprofit corporation based in San Francisco, California, is a leader in the assessment and reform of legal processes. Joint ISDLS legal studies have produced remarkable civil and criminal justice reforms throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. These studies have been published in the world’s leading international law journals (see attachments). The collective experience of the ISDLS Board of Directors, International Board of Advisers, and sixty-four delegates offers an incomparable concentration of expertise and innovation in process assessment and reform. The ISDLS Advisory Board is comprised of a diverse group of the world’s leading law reformers, including India Supreme Court Chief Justice A.M. Ahmadi (ret.); Egyptian Deputy Minister of Justice Maher Abdul Wahed; Senior Circuit Judge Clifford Wallace (former Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, Federal Court of Appeals); Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas (Retired Chief Justice, California State Supreme Court); and Mexican Ambassador to France, former Mexican Attorney General, and former Mexican Supreme Court Justice Jorge Carpizo.

University of California, Berkeley
The Conference will assemble this expertise at the University of California at Berkeley, an institution known and respected globally for the integrity and excellence of its work in international studies generally and international legal studies particularly. Boalt Hall is the home of the American Journal of Comparative Law, its Library houses one of the most extensive foreign law collections in the world, its Center for Law and Society is currently in the midst of an extensive research project investigating the conduct of business in different legal cultures, and its International Legal Studies Program is consistently ranked among the top ten in the nation.