Principles: We re-affirm the core judicial independence and accountability principles enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights, the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Beijing Declaration on Independence of the Judiciary, and recommit ourselves to their speedy and effective implementation.
Demands on the Judiciary: The demands on the judiciary have grown exponentially in recent years. Country, regional and global economic, political and technological trends also demand a 21st century civilization grounded on the rule of law and access to justice for all citizens. We recognize the need for judiciaries in the Asia-Pacific Region to work together more closely to meet these common challenges. We also recognize that integrating technology into the judicial systems can facilitate knowledge sharing and learning, management of dockets, prompt disposition of cases, and better access to courts by all citizens.
Priority: Towards this end, the Chief Justices and participants of this Conference were in unanimous agreement to establish a judicial knowledge and technique sharing network (APJR Network) for all of the Supreme Courts and the judicial community in the Asia-Pacific Region. Unlike any other time in our region's history, almost every country is now embarking in judicial reform. There is much to learn from one another about what to do - and not do - on judicial reform. This necessarily calls for a forum or network for knowledge sharing of judicial reform successes and failures.
Objective: The main objective of the APJR Network is to share knowledge, including lessons learned, problems faced, best practices and potential model reform experiences from the region as well as globally.
Next steps: The Philippine Supreme Court believes in this important mission and is willing to serve as the Regional Secretariat of the APJR Network. The court, under the leadership of Chief Justice Davide, Jr., is very pleased to have served as the host for this Conference, which is the first collaborative step in establishing the APJR Network. Next steps will be undertaken by the Chief Justices of other Asia-Pacific countries who have also committed to this mission and to hosting two working group reform roundtables over the next year. These roundtables will identify areas of high priority collaboration among Asia-Pacific Chief Justices, judges and judicial academies, with a view to examining country experiences that have potential for replication or adaptation in other countries within the region.
Action: We all know that our ability to access, share, and profit from specific judicial reform experiences in different countries will be vital to our individual and collective success.
For All: These workshops, annual conferences, on-going APJR Electronic Dialogue, and the united support of the donor community, will enable us to proceed with a 21st Century Judicial Reform Agenda in a concrete, prioritized, and collaborative manner. We can strive for no less for all of our citizens as well as for future generations.