Maurits Barendrecht

"Providing justice is high tech, very personal and very similar across the world."

Maurits Barendrecht (1956) grew up in The Hague, the city of peace and justice. After studying Physics and graduating from Leiden Law School, he practiced law at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, a leading Dutch law firm (1982-1997). He became a partner in this firm, practicing in litigation before the Dutch Supreme Court, intellectual property, labor law and public interest litigation.

Since 1992, he is professor of Private Law at Tilburg University. His publications focus on dispute systems (legal procedures, negotiation processes, ADR, informal dispute mechanisms). What are the justice needs of people in a divorce or an employment dispute? What rules work best to resolve such conflicts? What are best practices for lawyers, judges and mediators? What dispute resolution techniques do they use? What are the incentives for these professionals and what are their professional beliefs? For him, the challenge is always to improve dispute systems so that they serve the interests of the people that rely on them in a better way.

Maurits led breakthrough innovation projects such as:

  • The first comprehensive codification of private law for services (European Civil Code Project).
  • The reorganization of personal injury claims handling in the Netherlands, leading to a code of conduct.
  • The Access to Justice Report of the UN high level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor.
  • The measuring access to justice methodology and the Innovating Justice Platform (now two successful HiiL services that have been implemented in many countries of the world).

These interactive research and development projects take place in cooperation with stakeholders such as client groups, ministries of justice, the judiciary, or those involved in the supply of legal services.

As research director at HiiL Innovating Justice, Maurits is responsible for Innovating Procedures and Online Justice Journeys. These procedures, available for courts, ministries of justice and providers of legal aid/services, are unique because they:

  • Do not enhance conflicts through an adversarial process, but aim at fair, sustainable agreements;
  • Offer a complete, fully integrated justice journey, from early diagnosis through mediation to enforceable decisions by judges on points the parties cannot resolve themselves;
  • Give all participants access to sufficient and understandable information about the conflict and about solutions that worked for others in similar situations (concrete legal criteria and calculation formulas, best practices, evidence from research);
  • Give the user control over the process, the outcomes and the costs;
  • Are paid from user fees, with limited subsidies, so they can be offered sustainably by courts, governments and legal services organizations.


Prof Maurits Barendrecht
Research Director
+31 (0) 70 762 0700
+31 (0) 6 4292 1812