Terms of Reference Conducting a Research on the Former Garsoore Dadweyne and Making Recommendations for its Re-establishment


Somalia’s justice system faces serious challenges in ensuring access to justice for all citizens. These include inadequate resources, limited technical expertise and the lack of good governance. The country’s war and the prolonged violence resulted in the erosion of the rule of law. Besides, the judiciary and the general justice system practise legal pluralism that has different justice norms which are sought by many people seeking justice. These and many other challenges negatively impact the ability of the legal courts to dispense justice. The citizens mostly complain of massive corruption and nepotism in the formal courts. Minority groups are less represented in government institutions, including the legal system, hence feel excluded and may not be satisfied with the court rulings.

Prior to the collapse of the central government in 1991, the then government established an accountability and transparency mechanism in the courts in the form of Garsoore Dadweyne (roughly translated ‘Public Judge’). These were respected community members selected based on their credibility and acceptance in the community. They would in the hearing of court cases and closely follow the cases. If any of the parties is not satisfied with the ruling or suspects fraudulent behaviors, they would then complain to the Garsoore Dadweyne who would investigate and act on the complaints. by bringing the knowledge of local socio-political and other contexts, from which judges are often removed. They can advise on local norms and the traditional justice system (xeer) that may have taken place in order to prevent double jeopardy and misruling. Court rulings rendered without the presence of Garsoore Dadweyne were considered void. These helped enhance transparency in the courts by ensuring accountability and improving public trust in the courts.

The Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC), through funding from the Expanding Access to Justice (EAJ) Program, plans to conduct research into this model and find out whether the model is worth being res-established. as public trust comes partly from local norms being applied or considered, while the formal law is partly removed from society and may not be appreciated.

Purpose and objective of the consultancy

The purpose of this research is to undertake an assessment to see if there is historical evidence of how the Garsoore Dadweyne model worked by examining its strengths and weaknesses, and recommending whether the model could work in the contemporary context of Somalia. The proposed assessment is expected evaluation to determine how the Garsoore Dadweyne concept would function in the current political and judicial context, and to inform the development of the renewed design of the Garsoore Dadweyne if found feasible, including how it would function, how governance and leadership would be structured, how it would be resourced, and how oversight will be exercised.

Specific objectives

 The specific objectives of the research include:

  • Examine Highlight the role of the former Garsoore Dadweyne in the adjudication of cases, and in the accountability of courts processes.
  • Describe how the members were selected, including the selection criteria, and the authorities responsible for their selection and oversight.
  • Describe the governance of the former Garsoore Dadweyne, including the leadership structure, qualifications, and the government authorities responsible for overseeing their operations.
  •  Highlight the challenges faced by the former Garsoore Dadweyne in executing their responsibilities.
  • Identify/predict how the Garsoore Dadweyne would play out in the current socio-political and legal context
  • Provide recommendations for the establishment of a renewed Garsoore Dadweyne model, including how it will be structured, its constitution and governance, key roles and responsiblities.

Key research questions

Historical perspective:

  1. What was the purpose/importance of the former Garsoore Dadweyne in the legal system, particularly in the adjudication of cases?
  2. What role did they play in the court process including the hearing of cases and the judgement and what powers were confered on them?
  3. What procedure was used to select the members and how was the leadership structured, qualifications, and the government authorities responsible for overseeing their operations?
  4. How were the members selected, including the selection criteria, and the authorities responsible for their selection and oversight?
  5. How was the Garsoore Dadweyne resourced, including salaries for members, trainings and capacity building?
  6. How did they impact case outcomes?
  7. What was their main value in promoting transparency and in linking court processes to local norms?
  8. What were the challenges faced by the former Garsoore Dadweyne in executing their responsibilities?

Contemporary Perspective:

  • What opportunities currently exist for its re-establishment?
  • Which kinds of justice challenges could be addressed by the Garsoore Dadweyne in court?
  • How should members be selected nowadays to ensure impartiality and familiarity with the formal justice system?
  • How can Garsoore Dadweyne in particular assist vulnerable groups in accessing justice?
  • What challenges can be foreseen?

Proposed Methodology

The consultant will be expected to utilize various methods in collecting the required information to answer the research questions. The consultant will propose the methodology and the approach to the study in the research protocol which will be discussed and agreed upon with SWDC and EAJ.

However, at a minimum, it is proposed that the consultant will conduct a literature review to understand the existence of any similar models, their similarities with former Somalia Garsoore Dadweyne and draw lessons on their importance and functionalities. A review of secondary data from similar studies in Somalia, if in existence, will also be conducted. The consultant is also expected to conduct focus group discussions, review of old case files (if any) and semi-structured interviews with the former members of the Garsoore Dadweyene, the judges, lawyers and/or prosecutors in the Siyadd Barre regime, and other individuals with knowledge of how this system worked in the past.

The key informants and participants in the group discussions should be drawn from various backgrounds, paying attention to diversities such as gender, disabilities, and clan, among others. The collected data must be collated, analyzed, and interpreted in a logical and systematic manner.


  1. Develop a research protocol, detailing the key research questions, data collection tools to answer the research questions, the key resource persons and a work plan. (As part of the research protocol, provide detailed and comprehensive research tools to be used in capturing the information required. The tools should be discussed and agreed upon at the project level before utilization and thereafter be annexed to the survey report.)
  2. Participate in briefings and consultative meetings on the assignment at the SWDC Mogadishu office.
  3. Debrief session and power-point presentation for SWDC after the data is analyzed and a draft report prepared.
  4. Prepare and submit a full report on the study, including significant results and policy recommendations for increasing women’s meaningful engagement in the legal system.
  5. Soft copy of the database of the primary data analyzed and used in the report.


The consultant will be engaged for 25 working days between June 25th and July 19th, 2022. The activity plan proposed below will be reviewed and agreed upon by the consultant, and SWDC.

NO.ActivityDuration (Days)Responsibility/Remarks
1Briefing by SWDC team1SWDC team and consultant
2Review of old case files (if any)2Consultant
3Produce research protocol2Consultant
4Development of the data collection tools2Consultant
5Pre-test and finalization of tools1Consultant
6Data collection6Consultant and data collectors
7Data analysis3Consultant
8Preparation of the draft report4Consultant
9Debrief session and presentation of the draft report1Consultant
10Review of the report by SWDC and EAJ2SWDC and EAJ teams
11Finalization of the report and submission to SWDC1Consultant

Preferred Qualifications

  •  A minimum of 5 years experience in carrying out qualitative studies.
  • At least a basic university degree is required. An advanced university degree is an added advantage.
  • Extensive knowledge and experience in qualitative research methodologies and techniques.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the local Somalia context, particularly the judicial system is an important asset.
  • Fluency in English and the Somali languages is required.
  • Experience in writing professional reports

Terms and Conditions of service

SWDC, with funding from the EAJ Program, will provide such necessary resources required for the successful execution of the assignment. This may include the provision of the necessary project documents, suggesting a list of important persons to be interviewed, facilitation, and setting appointments with the interviewees if necessary.

The consultant will cover his/her transportation, accommodation, communication, and any other costs directly related to the assignment.

The consultant shall be responsible for his/her taxes and/or security implication as a result of the consultant being engaged in this piece of work.

Mode of application

Applications with copies of CVs, testimonials, a one-page cover letter, technical proposal (max 3 pages), and financial proposal (max 1 page) should be submitted via email to swdc.org@gmail.com and copying abdullahi@swdcsom.org / aidarus@swdcsom.org before June 30, 2022.