Despite advances in criminal procedural reform and more transparent processes, lack of access to justice was a fundamental challenge in Peru. The costs of accessing justice services was high, including formal costs such as attorneys’ and court fees and informal ones such as bribes paid and opportunity costs for time invested in the process. Another challenge was the limited technical capabilities and professionalization of staff at the judiciary and in the Attorney General’s Office, as no permanent system existed to select, evaluate, train, or remove judges and prosecutors. Related challenges to professional development were weak accountability mechanisms and inefficiencies in judicial processes. Finally, the gradual implementation of the new criminal procedural code (NCPC) required coordination and close cooperation among the central stakeholders, including the judiciary, the Ministry of Justice (MINJUS), the Attorney General’s Office, the Judicial Academy, and the National Judicial Council.
The World Bank’s 2007–11 Country Partnership Strategy for Peru identified as an essential pillar the modernization of state institutions, with special focus on improving justice and reducing corruption. Additionally, improving access to justice (understood as both having the opportunity to present claims before a competent authority and receiving a timely process) was one of the government’s main priorities. The Justice Services Improvement II Project sought to improve the quality of service delivery of the institutions forming part of the Justice Service Administration System and to enhance access to justice services. Overall, project activities targeted improved justice services delivery, strengthened managerial capabilities of justice-sector institutions, and enhanced transparency and access to justice.