Evidence-based Access to Justice in Ukraine

Evidence-based Access to Justice in Ukraine

HiiL listened to more than 6500 people from all over the country to understand their justice needs and experiences. The main findings are that millions of people need more accessible, affordable, effective and fair justice journeys. Particularly acute are the justice needs of the internally displaced people (IDPs). Better access to justice can be achieved through continuous focus on the users, re-design of existing justice journeys and encouragement of innovative approaches to justice. In 2016 and 2017 our project continues with turning the justice evidence into actions that improve the justice journeys available to the people of Ukraine.

Millions of people in Ukraine need more accessible, effective and fair justice journeys for their legal problems. HiiL’s justice needs and satisfaction study clearly shows that significant improvements can and have to be made on the existing justice journeys. The chart below maps out the experiences of the users of justice on three of the most frequently occurring legal problems. Clearly, the people need justice journeys in which they can express their positions, where their voice is heard by unbiased third parties who treat them with respect and explain the process. Improvements are also needed in terms of the costs of justice, and particularly in the dimension of stress and negative emotions. For many people, stress and emotions are the most disheartening barrier to justice.

More than half of the citizens of Ukraine encountered one or more serious legal problems in the past four years. Consumer problems, employment disagreements, issues around claiming and receiving welfare benefits and housing are just the most frequently occuring domains of legal problems. Particularly serious and frequent are the needs for justice of the internally displaced people who fled the war in the East of Ukraine. Two out of three of the interviewed IDPs said that they experienced difficult problems around ID documents, property, housing, employment and other vital categories. These huge needs for justice are among the main findings of the study conducted by HiiL in 2015.

The next stage of our project is about setting up a process for improving people’s experiences on their justice journeys. We start from the evidence about the quality of the procedures, the quality of the outcomes and the costs of the justice journeys. By using an inclusive methodology we will engage justice leaders from Ukraine in the quest to improve justice journeys. Based on the data, we will identify what works and what does not work for the users. Next, we will involve state of the art dispute resolution knowledge and technologies to redesign and improve justice journeys that are used by many people. At the end, we will evaluate the impact and will continue facilitating a process in which Ukrainian justice leaders use bottom-up evidence to creatively improve the justice journeys that the people use to resolve their problems in fair and just manner.

Project details

Project leader: Martin Gramatikov
Project partner: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kharkov Institute for Social Research, UNDP Ukraine
Duration: 2015-2017