Consultancy – Research on Customary and Informal Justice and SDG16+ROLSHR/CB/UNDP

Location : Home-based
Application Deadline :29-Nov-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Time left :2d 3h 31m
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :30 working days over a period of 3.5 months
Expected Duration of Assignment :30 working days over a period of 3.5 months

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


More than five billion people lack meaningful access to justice. As a result, they are often denied their rights, marginalized, displaced from land, and subjected to violence without remedy. Experience of injustice is acknowledged as a key conflict driver. To tackle this global justice gap, the 2030 Agenda commits UN Member States to ensure equal access to justice for all, articulated in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on peaceful, just, and inclusive societies, and specific targets associated with other SDGs (collectively, SDG16+).

To fulfil the promise of SDG16+, it is imperative that the global justice community engages with the empirical reality of customary and informal justice and factors this into justice delivery and programming. In a wide variety of contexts, people utilize a broad spectrum of what are variously called alternative, community-based, customary, grassroots, hybrid, indigenous, informal, local, non-state, religious, and other systems to resolve disputes and seek redress for crimes or grievances. While CIJ providers may be the only option available to many people, they are also often accepted, or even preferred, by the people who use them as having legitimacy and capability to dispense justice or resolve disputes. CIJ systems are often more grounded in the communities they serve, more accessible, affordable, and proximate than formal systems; they tend to emphasize restorative justice, flexible rules and procedures, and consent-based negotiated solutions that are culturally resonant. However, CIJ systems often also reflect unequal power dynamics and may reproduce the status quo and conservative social norms, with particularly adverse effects for women, the poor and other marginalized groups who tend to be disproportionately reliant on CIJ.


Despite these challenges (which also characterize many formal justice systems), the case for greater recognition of CIJ systems is straightforward: the majority of people resolve their problems and claim their rights outside of formal justice systems, and their first resort is overwhelmingly to CIJ systems. For many people, CIJ systems regulate access to land, water and other natural resources, and their family relations. While CIJ systems coexist and intersect to varying degrees with formal or statutory law in almost every country, the global justice community remains overwhelmingly focused on formal justice, mostly replicating solution-driven assumptions about how access to justice is best achieved. A sharper understanding of the importance, diversity, and complexities of CIJ systems is needed, as are tools or frameworks to facilitate politically astute engagement with all justice actors, including CIJ where appropriate, to help realize equal access to justice for all.

In 2020 a Working Group On Customary and Informal Justice and SDG16+ was established to pursue a common agenda that advocates for the centrality of CIJ systems. In 2021, the Working Group developed a Joint Action Plan that sets out a strategy for accelerating action on the global commitment to achieve access to justice for all by 2030 (SDG16.3). The intended outcome of this Joint Action Plan is an enabling policy environment, at national and global levels, for governments, development partners, and civil society to engage effectively with CIJ in efforts to build more inclusive justice systems that contribute to achieving equal justice for all, and evidence-based tools supporting them to do so. The main deliverable of the Joint Action Plan will be a final report of the Working Group to be presented at the 2nd SDG Summit in Sept 2023.


The Working Group’s Joint Action Plan was recognized by the Justice Action Coalition, a major group of justice stakeholders coordinating actions in support of SDG16.3. The Justice Action Coalition is a network of countries and partners who are allies in championing equal access to justice of for all. The guiding ambition of the Justice Action Coalition is to close the global justice gap and the goal is to achieve measurable progress in justice outcomes for people and communities by the second SDG Summit in 2023. The Justice Action Coalition integrated the Working Group’s final report into its own strategy, as one of the coalition’s 10 Joint Deliverables to be presented in advance of the 2nd SDG Summit.


In order to prepare for the final report of the Working Group in 2023, UNDP will secure the services of a research consultant in 2022 to prepare in-depth background material illustrating the state of knowledge and engagement vis-à-vis CIJ, identify interesting trends or new developments support “the case for CIJ” and explore a set of key questions representing significant gaps in the CIJ evidence base. The research consultant will rely on members of the Working Group and its networks to develop a report that will be validated through a series of online consultations in late 2022 and early 2023.


For UNDP ROLSHR PROGRAMME and the JUSTICE FUTURES COLAB please click the following links

Rule of Law and Human Rights | United Nations Development Programme ( Futures CoLab Explainer.pdf ABOUT THE WORKING GROUP ON CIJ AND SDG16+ please click the following link.:  Working Group on Customary and Informal Justice and SDG16+ | ODI: Think change

Duties and Responsibilities


Under the overall supervision of the ROLSHR Team Leader and the ROLSHR Justice Specialist, the Consultant’s expected outputs and deliverables will be as follows:


Scope of work

The research consultant will focus on two main elements:

  1. Summary of key conclusions and data available to support governments, development partners, and civil society to engage effectively with CIJ systems in efforts to build more inclusive justice systems that contribute to achieving equal justice for all, drawing on a desk review (including scan of the academic literature), key informant interviews, and (to be confirmed) regional consultations, and ultimately representing the basis for an emergent consensus among Working Group members on “what works”
  2. Key insights emerging from focused investigation of 4-5 main knowledge gaps to be addressed further in the Working Group’s final report, notably (but not limited to) good practice in mobilizing financing for justice interventions related to CIJ, CIJ data, cooperation between formal and CIJ actors, and managing the politics of engagement with CIJ, drawing on a desk review and key informant interviews, and informing further dialogue between Working Group members


The methodology indicated in this section is indicative. The research consultant will be expected to propose a final detailed methodological framework in the inception report. The research consultant should adopt both quantitative and qualitative approaches and will be responsible for producing an appropriate theory-based methodology including designing tools and developing questionnaire and other instruments for data collection. The research consultant should use, but not be limited to, the following methods for data collection:

  • Desk review: The research consultant should scan the relevant publications of Working Group members and relevant policy documents from major international justice stakeholders, as well as major academic databases, in order to build a succinct “literature review” relevant both to policy and practice in the justice space.
  • Key informant interviews and possibly collective discussions: The consultant will conduct around 20 in-depth key informant interviews (mostly online) to gather primary data from key stakeholders. The consultant will suggest a list of interviewees that can include members of the Working Group, public officials from a selected cross-section of countries, UN system, bilateral and multilateral donors, scholars, representatives of justice seekers (especially women’s and indigenous peoples’ organizations), and CIJ practitioners, among others. The members of the Working Group may support identification of key informants and facilitate the organization of collective discussions. Geographic diversity of the interviewees and contributions will be sought. The research consultant will develop an interview protocol to conduct this work.


Main tasks

Within this framework, the research consultant will be responsible to undertake the following main tasks within the timeline indicated below:

  • Develop and submit an inception report outlining understanding of the Terms of Reference, research methodology, a proposed workplan indicating clear milestones and timelines and the suggested final report outline including knowledge gaps to investigate and how they will be analyzed
  • Conduct desk review and implement data collection through key informant interviews and discussions
  • Develop and submit a draft report, including a detailed analysis of evidence and insights related to both elements of the scope of work
  • Facilitate a validation webinar including representatives of selected Working Group members and 3-5 external referents consulted for supplemental validation

Develop and submit a final report for review by Working Group members





Expected outputs and deliverables:


Original Contract Deliverables (2022- 2023)

Estimated Duration to Complete

Tentative Due Date

% of Payment

Submission of inception report, workplan and final report outline including identified knowledge gaps and how they will be analyzed

4 days


15 Dec 2022



Desk review and data collection

17 days

31 Jan 2023


Submission of draft report

6 days

15 Feb 2022


Presentation in validation webinar

1 day

20 Feb 2022


Submission and approval of final report

2 days

20 March 2022



30 days





Ability to make new and useful ideas work.

Level 5: Creates new and relevant ideas and leads others to implement them


Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.

Level 5: Gains trust of peers, partners, clients by presenting complex concepts in practical terms to others


Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement

Level 5: Critically assesses value and relevance of existing policy / practice and contributes to enhanced delivery of products, services, and innovative solutions


Collaboration & Partnerships

Ability to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside (Programmes/projects) or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support.  Sets overall direction for the formation and management of strategic relationships contributing to the overall positioning of UNDP

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Knowledge Management

Ability to capture, develop, share and effectively use information and knowledge.

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Rule of Law, Justice, and Security

Knowledge of Rule of law, Justice and Citizen Security concepts and principles and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Human Rights

Knowledge of international Human Rights standards and principles and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Required Skills and Experience

Academic qualifications:

Master’s degree in a relevant field of study (anthropology, development studies, human rights, law, management, political science, public administration) or other relevant field from a recognized university is required



Minimum 10 years’ relevant professional experience in the areas of access to justice and rule of law, human rights, peacebuilding, and conflict prevention, and / or women’s equality and empowerment;

Demonstrated experience working specifically on issues related to customary and informal justice (CIJ) is required

 Track record of conducting research and writing for diverse stakeholders, including high-level policy or academic publications is required.

Previous experience (5-10 years) in field qualitative research and previous studies or publications on customary and informal justice practices, hybrid justice mechanisms (customary/formal), and/or links between customary and formal justice mechanisms  are a big asset.




  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required.
  • Working knowledge of another UN language would be an asset


Application Procedure

The application package containing the following (to be uploaded as one file):

  • A cover letter with a brief description of why the Offer considers her/himself the most suitable for the assignment;
  • Personal CV or P11, indicating all past experience from similar projects and specifying the relevant assignment period (from/to), as well as the email and telephone contacts of at least three (3) professional references; and
  • A two-page of brief statement of proposed methodology and approach to the assignment required


Note: The above documents need to be scanned in one file and uploaded to the online application as one document.


Shortlisted candidates (ONLY) will be requested to submit a Financial Proposal.


  • The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount, and payment terms around the specific and measurable deliverables of the TOR. Payments are based upon output, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR, and deliverables accepted and certified by the technical manager. 
  • The financial proposal must be all-inclusive and take into account various expenses that will be incurred during the contract, including: the daily professional fee; (excluding mission travel); living allowances at the duty station; communications, utilities and consumables; life, health and any other insurance; risks and inconveniences related to work under hardship and hazardous conditions (e.g., personal security needs, etc.), when applicable; and any other relevant expenses related to the performance of services under the contract.
  • This consultancy is a home-based assignment, therefore, there is no envisaged travel cost to join duty station/repatriation travel. 


  • In the case of unforeseeable travel requested by UNDP, payment of travel costs including tickets, lodging and terminal expenses should be agreed upon, between UNDP and Individual Consultant, prior to travel and will be reimbursed. In general, UNDP should not accept travel costs exceeding those of an economy class ticket. Should the IC wish to travel on a higher class he/she should do so using their own resources.
  • If the Offeror is employed by an organization/company/institution, and he/she expects his/her employer to charge a management fee in the process of releasing him/her to UNDP under a Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the Offeror must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP.


The Financial Proposal is to be emailed as per the instruction in the separate email that will be sent to shortlisted candidates.


Evaluation process

Applicants are reviewed based on Required Skills and Experience stated above and based on the technical evaluation criteria outlined below.  Applicants will be evaluated based on cumulative scoring.  When using this weighted scoring method, the award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:


  • Being responsive/compliant/acceptable; and
  • Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation where technical criteria weigh 70% and Financial criteria/ Proposal weighs 30%.


Technical evaluation - Total 70% (70 points):

  • Criteria 1. Relevance of the experience (min 10 years) in rule of law and access to justice, human rights, peacebuilding, and conflict prevention, and / or women’s equality and empowerment; including  in relation to customary and informal justice. Weight =20%; Maximum Points: 20;
  • Criteria 2. Relevance of experience in conducting research and high-quality writing for diverse stakeholders, including high-level policy or academic publications; publication of studies and/or field research in the field of customary and informal justice (provide a sample) Weight = 20 %; Maximum Points: 20;
  • Criteria 3. Demonstrated broad and substantive experience on CIJ systems, including the academic literature and relevant policy frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda Weight = 10%; Maximum Points: 10; and
  • Criteria 4. Experience (minimum 3 years) of working in a wide variety of contexts including fragile and crisis settings and experience of working un diverse multicultural environments Weight =5%; Maximum points 5
  • Criteria 5: Quality of brief statement of proposed methodology and approach to the assignment Weight = 15 %; Maximum Points: 15.


Candidates obtaining a minimum of 70% (49 points) of the maximum obtainable points for the technical criteria (70 points) shall be considered for the financial evaluation.


Financial evaluation - Total 30% (30 points)

The following formula will be used to evaluate financial proposal:

p = y (µ/z), where

p = points for the financial proposal being evaluated

y = maximum number of points for the financial proposal

µ = price of the lowest priced proposal

z = price of the proposal being evaluated


Contract Award

Candidate obtaining the highest combined scores in the combined score of Technical and Financial evaluation will be considered technically qualified and will be offered to enter into contract with UNDP.


Institutional arrangement

The consultant will work under the guidance and direct supervision of the Rule of Law, Security, and Human Rights Justice Specialist and the Head or ROLSHR CB and will be responsible for the fulfilment of the deliverables as specified above.


Payment modality

Payments are based upon output, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified above and deliverables accepted and upon certification of satisfactory completion by the manager.  


Annexes (click on the hyperlink to access the documents):

Annex 1 - UNDP P-11 Form for ICs

Annex 2 - IC Contract Template

Annex 3 – IC General Terms and Conditions

Annex 4 – RLA Template

Any request for clarification must be sent by email to 

The UNDP Central Procurement Unit will respond by email and will send written copies of the response, including an explanation of the query without identifying the source of inquiry, to all applicants.


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