The Philippines operates under a republican system where governmental powers are divided among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The country follows a civil law and positivist legal system, with the Constitution regarded as the supreme law of the land. However, it can also be characterized as a pluralistic legal system, where indigenous justice systems, Muslim personal laws, and informal methods of dispute resolution coexist with the formal legal system.

The government has introduced a development agenda known as the Philippine Development Plan (PDP). The PDP 2017-2022 aimed to enhance the social fabric and restore people's trust in institutions, with the justice system playing a crucial role. Chapter 6 of the PDP, titled 'Pursuing Swift and Fair Administration of Justice,' established the principle of coordination to achieve sustainable reform in the justice sector. It focused on improving civil, criminal, commercial, and administrative law while enhancing sector efficiency and accountability. The PDP 2023-2028 features a dedicated chapter titled 'Ensuring Peace and Security and Enhancing the Administration of Justice' (Chapter 13). Subchapter 13.2 emphasizes the enhancement of the administration of justice through the establishment and strengthening of coordination mechanisms to improve the efficiency and accountability of the justice sector. This includes promoting free legal services and improving the living conditions of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) as key strategies.

Global indicators for governance and the rule of law remain problematic for the Philippines. According to the 2022 Rule of Law Index (RLI) of the World Justice Project (WJP), the overall score of the country remains in the bottom half of the index (0.47), with a global rank of 97 out of 140 countries and a regional ranking of 13 out of 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region (only better than Myanmar and Cambodia). The lowest scores in the criminal justice system resonate with many of the issues that the predecessor EU-supported GOJUST I intervention addressed in the correctional system, due process of law, and the timely adjudication of cases. In the World Governance Indicator (WGI) of the World Bank for Rule of Law, the ranking of the Philippines shows a downward trend, with a percentile rank of 36.54 in 2016 and 26.92 in 2021.

The justice sector faces unique challenges, including the growing congestion of prosecution offices, courts, and detention facilities. Ensuring access to both formal and informal justice remains an ongoing concern, particularly for populations in vulnerable situations. This is especially true for women and groups in marginalized communities. The presence of injustice and the lack of access to effective justice are rooted in structural factors. Among those most profoundly impacted by the numerous barriers to accessing more responsive and accountable justice services are the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable groups.

The current intervention ‘Justice Sector Reform Programme: Governance in Justice II’ (GOJUST II) is implemented through a Contribution Agreement by implementing partners British Council (BC) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) through indirect management. The total budget is EUR 19 million for 54 months (07/12/2020 - 31/07/2025). It builds upon a previous intervention, GOJUST I (2016-2020), and introduces innovations such as one expected result related to demand-side access to justice through a grant facility and another focused on the development of evidence and research.