'Many countries are undertaking legal and judicial reforms as part of their overall development programs; there is increasing recognition that economic and social progress requires consolidation of democracy as well as respect for the rule of law and human rights; without these development is not sustainable.' Many developing countries find that their judiciaries are inconsistent in conflict resolution and carry a large backlog of cases, thus stifling private-sector growth, eroding individual and property rights, and perhaps even violating human rights. Delays affect both the fairness and the efficiency of the system. They impede the public's access to the courts, which, in effect, weakens democracies, the rule of law and the ability to enforce human rights. This paper aims to describe and explain the performance of court systems in a sample of developing and developed countries in order to provide data to those designing or evaluating reforms. The study also seeks to show areas in which international comparison of judicial performance can be fruitful, suggesting indicators that can be used in such comparisons. Finally, it endeavors to provide comparisons of performance within individual countries over time.