Step by step approach to preventing and resolving justice problems

To address people’s justice problems at scale, consider taking these three steps: Identifying desired outcomes, applying evidence-based treatments, and monitoring the outcomes of each treatment. Our latest updates to the Solving and Preventing page details how.

HiiL has revised its Solving and Preventing page on the Justice Dashboard. The data portal provides justice workers with insights and knowledge on what works to help resolve the justice problems of everyday people. With this page, we propose a systematic approach to streamlining the use of evidence-based treatments in the justice sector. Presented in a user-friendly manner, we hope this information galvanises discussions on the uptake of evidence-based practice in the justice sector. 

To that end, we set out to identify the outcomes people desire following the resolution of a dispute. Land disputes, for example, typically focus on securing fair access and ownership to property and the fair distribution of profits. In contrast, an employment dispute elicits a desire for equal treatment and fairness especially vis-a-vis the worker and her supervisors and colleagues. Receiving salary as agreed upon with the employer reflects one example of a successful desired outcome. With this in mind, we asked people in Ethiopia, Uganda and the USA about the kind of outcomes they seek and expect when disputes have been resolved. 

« Lately, my village needs me more and more. I help them in finding agreements together. »

In the case of land disputes, the results indicate a desire for fair ownership of land and compensation resulting from loss of income or property. Regarding employment disputes, people desire payment of due wages and a good relationship with the employer. Similarly, with regards to family disputes, people seek safety and security for their children, fair division of property and debts, and respectful communication.

To help realise these desired outcomes, HiiL has developed evidence-based guidelines for justice workers on the frontline of dispute resolution. These include lawyers, judges, police, social workers and community leaders who aspire to increase access to justice in their communities. The guidelines are practical and can be implemented by any person with limited or no additional support necessary from peers.

“Being a judge comes with great responsibilities. I am passionate about the law as an instrument of fairness and helping people who are in need.”

In the future, we will have these guidelines reviewed by external justice workers to confirm their practical application. Currently, we have guidelines on the prevention and resolution of disputes related to family, employment and land. In the coming months, the Justice Dashboard will add guidelines dealing with neighbour disputes. 

Although based on evidence, HiiL will test and monitor the impact of these guidelines in various justice sector contexts. In the upcoming months, we will share ideas on how to effectively apply these guidelines so they can help achieve and deliver the desired outcomes of those seeking fair and equal justice to their concerns. 

Further Reading