Improving lives by measuring justice
Rule of law interventions and legal reforms are rarely evidence based. What is ominously missing in the justice sector are the voices of the users of justice. New approaches are needed to build justice journeys that work for the users. An approach that puts people in the center, and that empowers justice institutions to provide the leadership and stability to support this change.
The foundation of our approach is data. Through our Justice Needs and Satisfaction (JNS) method we collect robust and actionable data about people’s experiences with justice. Our instrument maps out the justice needs of the people and gauges in a standard manner how the people experience the justice journeys. We turn the ideal of justice into an experience that can actually be measured and monitored.
Based on the data, we support building local ownership coalitions for the legal problems that are most frequent and urgent. Through clever interfaces, we make the data available to policymakers so they can act.
Our target is to study how people experience justice in 30 countries by 2020. By now we have done the study in 7 countries, which allows us to make access to justice inferences for about 400 million people.
At HiiL, we have developed methods to effectively study, in a short amount of time, how citizens experience the justice system. We use survey research to interview thousands of randomly selected individuals about their justice needs and experiences. The method estimates how the people evaluate 7 fairness indicators and 3 costs indicators of the existing justice journeys. It tells us what kinds of problems and justice needs do the citizens encounter. How much money, time, stress and emotions do their justice journeys cost? What do they think about the quality and outcomes of the processes that are available?
We can spot the differences in justice experiences between people who live in cities, in the countryside, in different regions, of different age, gender and education level. By examining the justice system from the perspective of the citizen, we give our client organisations a new and unprecedented insight into the way justice delivery can be improved.
Our JNS method has provided governments and civil society organisations in Yemen, Mali, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates with unique insights into the demand and supply of justice as it is perceived by the people. This empowers the users of justice and increases the accountability of the providers. It allows countries to prioritize, donors to target and coordinate, policy makers to better understand and work evidence-based.
The way ahead
We are now starting projects in Tunisia, Jordan, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Blogsview all Justice Needs in Uganda: Legal problems in daily life
Ground breaking survey shows that access to legal justice in Uganda is patchy and unfair; ...
Projects we are working onview all Justice Needs & Satisfaction Survey goes to the heart of understanding justice needs in the UAE
HiiL, in partnership with the The Ministry of Justice of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ...