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Courting Reform: Indonesia's Islamic Courts and Justice for the Poor

Authors:

Cate Sumner ,

Tim Lindsey

Abstract

This paper documents a judicial reform case study in the world’s most populous Islamic country that has involved increasing access to the courts for disadvantaged groups. The process began with an Access and Equity Study in the area of family law conducted by the Religious Courts of Indonesia in partnership with the Family Court of Australia as well as Indonesian research institutes and an NGO for female heads of household. The key findings of that study showed that the 50% of Indonesia’s citizens living below $2 a day would face challenges in bringing their family law cases to the Religious Courts, something that is mandatory under Indonesian law. The paper documents the steps taken by the Religious Courts over the last five years to increase access to the courts for disadvantaged groups, principally women, the poor and those living in remote areas. It is estimated that 30-40,000 Indonesian citizens facing financial and other forms of disadvantage will access the Religious Courts for their family law cases during 2011as a result of court fees being waived or a circuit court visiting their locality. The paper also highlights why legalising marriage and divorce and the provision of birth certificates (requiring a legal marriage certificate) are important for female heads of household and the families they support in terms of accessing broader public services, such as education and health.

How to Cite: Sumner, C. & Lindsey, T., (2011). Courting Reform: Indonesia's Islamic Courts and Justice for the Poor. International Journal for Court Administration. 4(1), pp.3–16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ijca.66
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Published on 15 Dec 2011.
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