The presence of security, justice and the rule of law are essential for ordinary Afghans to feel confident in standing up to those who intimidate and control through violence. The Justice Team in the PRT is working with the local authorities to deliver an accessible and accountable statutory justice system to a critical mass of the population of the Helmand Province, in accordance with Afghan law. The team is also supporting local efforts to establish a clear alternative to the insurgency for resolution of criminal and civil disputes. Work is also being undertaken to offer local communities and individuals a variety of formal and informal dispute resolution options to meet their needs.
The PRT supports the Independent Commission for Women and Children’s Rights, initially set up in February 2008. It is Helmand’s only paralegal institution run by women. In July 2010 the group completed a survey of women and children’s needs and priorities in over 3000 households across 4 areas of Lashkar Gah. In August and December 2010 and February 2011 the ICWCR started an exchange programme with women’s NGOs in Kabul. Further capacity building was carried out in July in the form of family law and women’s rights training for 20 women, and in September, 25 women received family law and understanding violence training in Lashkar Gah.
The PRT supported, up to July 2011, Helmand’s only defence lawyer capacity, through funding and mentoring to the Helmand office of the International Legal Foundation – Afghanistan. The
office was first set up in November 2008 and has gone from strength to strength, now hosting a total of three defence lawyers and, as of December 2010, a female paralegal. Funding has recently
been taken over by the World Bank, but other support by the PRT continues with emphasis on providing defence representation not only at the provincial level but, for serious cases, at the district
level. In September 2011 all ILF-A lawyers took part in a 10 day Family Law training.
In October 2009 Helmand’s prison was replaced with three wings of a new, purpose-built facility. It now has a normal accommodation capacity of 610 with an operational capacity of 1000. The Central Prisons Department's Director General has described the facility as "the best in Afghanistan".
In March 2011 the new Helmand Appeal Courthouse was opened. The building includes two main courtrooms, one on each floor, an office for the Chief Justice and fully furnished office accommodation for his staff.
In 2009-2010 the PRT began work with the Chief Provincial Prosecutor to increase the presence of prosecutors in districts, as part of a programme to bring the statutory justice sector to the communities outside Lashkar Gah. All major 'tier 1' districts now have prosecutors allocated and operating.