History: How we built our organisation

HiiL was set up in 2005 as the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law, with financial support from the Dutch Government and The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. The goal: to better understand the profound changes that are occurring in the environment in which legal systems operate and, on that basis, to concretely contribute to adapting them to today’s world. One of the key trends HiiL focused on from the start was internationalization: the increased transnational connectedness between legal systems, either directly or through international organisations


The first emphasis was on understanding. For that, HiiL set up 8 large-scale international research projects on different aspects of change and the impact of change. Topics included: the role of judiciary, rule making – in particular by non-state actors, data and measuring, rule of law promotion strategies, changing constitutionalism, and innovation. The research was designed to have an impact in the real world, and was complemented with debates, workshops, conferences, knowledge partnerships, action programmes and expert networks. It involved 142 Fellows from all over the world, usually the best in their field. As of the end of 2011, HiiL had produced 214 publications and held 116 events. All this work has been grounded in thinking about the future and a drive for innovation.


In its next phase, which started in 2012, HiiL transitioned into the social impact enterprise it now is. It recently also changed one word in its name: we became The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law. Using the knowledge base that had been built the focus is on impact, and helping clients design and implement justice journeys that work in the 21st century and that are user-centred, accessible, effective, and founded on sustainable funding models. Read more about us here.