Measuring costs and quality of access to justice

The Hague Measuring Access to Justice Methodology is a new and standardised process for measuring the quality and the costs of procedures. 

It is based on research about what people value in a process and on how they evaluate outcomes. The method can be used for court procedures, ADR procedures, legislative processes and for any process in which two or more parties take decisions about conflicts or other issues.   

The methodology measures can be seen as a sophisticated client satisfaction survey specifically for the justice sector. It focuses on 7 dimensions of justice. These are based on empirical and theoretical justice research that shows that people distinguish the following types of justice:

  • Procedural justice (process control, voice, participation, neutrality)
  • Informational justice (knowing what they can expect in procedures
  • Interpersonal justice (respect, treatment with dignity)
  • Distributive justice (outcomes are distributed fairly on the base of contribution, needs or equality)
  • Restorative and retributive justice (rectifying harm, just deserts)
  • Pragmatic justice (effective to solve the problem, enforceable)
  • Transparency of outcomes (clear which criteria are used, explanation of reasons)

The method also measure the costs and effort people need to spend to obtain access to justice. This is done in 3 dimensions (monetary costs, opportunity costs and emotional costs). 

Preferably it is used the parties from all sides (claimants, defendants, other parties to the process). It is the most comprehensive, and objective way to establish whether justice is done in a decision making process available.

The methodology has been applied to evaluate or compare negotiation processes, mediation procedures and court proceedings in more than 20 countries. It can – with some adjustments – be applied across cultures and in different fields of law (criminal, private, administrative). Other areas of application could be peace-building processes (surveying different groups of negotiators or members of the relevant groups), transitional justice processes or even processes for (international) law making.

The methodology has been developed by Tisco (Tilburg University) and the Microjustice Initiative in 2007-2010 with funding and expert network support from HiiL, the City of The Hague and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation and Agriculture,

See www.measuringaccesstojustice.com for details, a handbook and examples of results of this measuring process. 

For more information and assistance with applying the methodology, see also the services pages on measuring and evaluation

Project details

Project leader: Dr. Martin Gramatikov & Prof. Maurits Barendrecht 
Duration: 2007 - 2010
Contact: Martin Gramatikov