Why do we exist?

Everyone who faces a conflict or crime should have access to legal support that is effective, safe, understandable, affordable and perhaps most importantly, available when it’s needed.

Justice systems around the world need to be improved. Billions of people risk becoming powerless when faced with land disputes, crime, divorce, consumer problems, unfair dismissal, disagreements with a neighbour or landlord, grievance with a public authority, or a business/contractual conflict. In many instances, people simply cannot afford a lawyer or legal services. As such they may experience the law as a tool for the lucky few to maintain their monopoly on power, or to increase their power at the expense of the vulnerable and the many. And for those who do have the resources to access legal advice in the courts, justice procedures do not always deliver what they promise: procedures may be outdated, formalistic or unduly slow.

As Albert Einstein once observed, we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. We won’t fix the legal justice system by making more laws, recruiting more lawyers, judges and policemen, installing better case management systems, or by undertaking the occasional pilot study with alternative methods of dispute resolution. Replicating existing procedures and models is likely to further undermine trust in the justice system, and will probably impede economic development. It will certainly not close the gap between those who have access to justice and those who don't. What we need are new, innovative approaches. That’s what we are all about.

Our mission

By 2030, 150 million people will be able to prevent or resolve their most pressing justice problems

Our values

| Our projects are energising, based on collective learning, looking at problems from many perspectives and based on an exchange of solutions from different cultures.

Non-judgmental | We take a neutral perspective, focusing on what is perceived as more or less fair by the people involved.

Evidence-based | Research and best practices are the backbone of our work.

How do we work?

Our approach focuses on introducing innovation to the justice system. We do that together with our funding partners, entrepreneurs, governments, lawyers and courts.

We collect data about the needs and satisfaction of the users of the justice system. Our Justice Needs and Satisfaction tool is able to track more than 40 elements of the justice experience. Through clever interfaces, we make the data available to policymakers so they can act on it. Data provides knowledge, creates empowerment, and builds accountability – for both achieving positive outcomes and for not doing so. Meet our Measuring Justice team; learn how we work and the many countries we’ve already surveyed.

Based on the data, we build ownership around specific problems, spark innovation and support coalitions for change as integral aspects of our approach.

Our Innovating Procedures team can help you build the next generation of new and original procedures that help solve the justice-related problems experienced by their citizens. The new procedures we develop with clients combine elements of justice technology, mediation and of best practices from courts across the world. We don’t stop at devising and generating new solutions; we also help to realize, nurture and improve them.

Our Justice Accelerator team runs Justice Innovation Challenges to help identify and select promising justice start-ups that contribute to systemic change. We help justice entrepreneurs validate, improve and scale up their initiatives with the partners most useful to them, and develop sustainable funding models. We connect the best projects and business models to funding opportunities.

Who are we?

HiiL (The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law) forms a community of determined people who are passionate about social impact. We are dedicated justice change catalysts. We see ourselves as friendly rebels who have the courage, wisdom and creativity to help provide for the justice needs of people around the world. We have a strong action orientation and can be qualified as stubborn optimists. Data and evidence is important in all we do. Relationships building and teamwork allow us to provide effective solutions that are carried by all involved. HiiL is an equal opportunity, international employer; what matters to us is your dedication and ability to accomplish our mission.

How are we organised?

HiiL is organised as a not for profit social enterprise based in The Hague, the international city of Peace and Justice.

The Executive Board consists of Sam Muller (Chair) and Maurits Barendrecht (Research). On 26 July 2016 the Executive Board appointed Ellen Tacoma (Director of Operations) as a third member of the management team. The team can be found here.

Our Supervisory Board provides general supervision and advice.

The Programmatic Steering Board is a group of internationally prominent scholars that support and advise the Executive and Supervisory board on substantive issues.

HiiL is proud to have the support and encouragement of the Committee of Honorary Patrons, in which pre-eminent scholars and practitioners work to support the Institute.

Sustainable Development Goals

In 2017, HiiL has signed the SDG Charter to demontrate its commitment to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. With its efforts expanding beyond the borders of The Netherlands, to countries like Africa and Ukraine, HiiL specifically strives to promote SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. This encompasses working towards better access to justice and building of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.