Jordan – annual report 2020

IRZ expert Dr Dorothee WeckerlingWilhelm (centre), Head of Division at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, with IRZ Head of Section Sidi Mohamed Khairy (left) and IRZ project manager Asma Dhib
IRZ expert Dr Dorothee WeckerlingWilhelm (centre), Head of Division at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, with IRZ Head of Section Sidi Mohamed Khairy (left) and IRZ project manager Asma Dhib

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has a central and stabilising function in the region. It is among the most important cooperation partners in the Middle East for international bodies, mediating in the Middle East conflict and elsewhere. Despite its important and prominent role, the state has not managed to stabilise the economy and is therefore highly dependent on foreign money. In 2016, the International Monetary Fund approved loans of US$700 million to the country, which are tied to sweeping reforms. Tax increases were introduced in 2018 to reduce the national debt and fulfil these conditions. This provoked considerable resentment in broad swathes of the population. A rise in the unemployment rate and food prices in spring 2018 led to the largest protests since 2011. Discontent at the difficult economic situation persisted in wide sections of society, even after the protests had subsided.

A lockdown was imposed from March to May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing public life in Jordan to a standstill. The economic ramifications of the pandemic are wreaking havoc on the country’s already weakened economy. Accusations of government corruption and the steadily deteriorating living conditions erupted in protests by the disappointed population in September 2020.

King Abdullah II dissolved parliament on 27 September 2020 to form a new government and thus seek to stem popular disenchantment with economic hardship. He then appointed Bisher Al-Khasawneh as the new prime minister in October. Numerous ministerial posts were also filled, although the Minister of Justice, Bassam Al-Talhouni, remained in office. What consequences the appointment of Bisher Al-Khasawneh will have for the country remain to be seen.

Overall Concept

IRZ has supported various institutions of the Jordanian judiciary by providing further education, training and advisory measures since the start of project work in the country in 2006. It was only possible to hold events in an online format during 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions. In keeping with Jordanian national interests and priorities, they focused on advice and support in the area of criminal law as well as policy to combat corruption. The country continues to implement reforms in these areas. An event was also held on consumer protection, which was organised with the participation of a representative from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. Additional advisory measures on this issue are planned.

Focus of Activity in 2020

Constitutional Law 

  • Preparation of an anthology of selected landmark decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court for the Jordanian Constitutional Court

Civil and Commercial Law 

  • Online exchange of experiences on “Consumer protection: mechanisms and challenges” in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Industry and Trade and Supply

Criminal and Penitentiary Law

  • Online training for judges on “Combating organised crime” in cooperation with the Judicial Council
  • Online seminar on “Combating corruption – mechanisms and prevention” for representatives from the Jordanian Ministry of Justice and the Anti-Corruption Commission
  • Online exchange of experience on “International mutual legal assistance in criminal matters” with the Jordanian Ministry of Justice and representatives from the Judicial Council

Basic and Further Training 

  • Multi-day online mediation training for judges with the Judicial Institute of Jordan


IRZ will further intensify its cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Justice in the coming year in order to support Jordan in its national reform efforts, especially in the fields of criminal law, international mutual legal assistance and policy to combat corruption. In addition, the project “Promoting legal certainty: supporting criminal justice reforms in Jordan” (term: 2020 to 2022), which is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, will be implemented in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Justice. Over the next two years, this project aims to promote efficiency and transparency in the criminal justice system by having a working group develop recommendations for Jordanian members of the judiciary under the guidance of German experts.

The Judicial Council and the Judicial Institute of Jordan will also remain important project partners in the year ahead. For instance, further education seminars and training in the field of civil and criminal law will be organised with both partners to support basic and further training of the judiciary. Seminars and conferences on the topics of judiciary and court administration as well as administrative law are planned with the Judicial Council.

IRZ will organise advisory measures for the newly established consumer protection authority, which reports directly to the government, as a means of intensifying cooperation in the field of consumer protection.