20 december 2018. Globally, an estimated 2 billion justice problems remain unresolved as you read this article. Peace and justice are needed at magnificent scale. Today we launch HiiL’s report: “Understanding Justice Needs, The Elephant In The Courtroom”. It pinpoints the trends and data on the needs of justice users and how providers of justice serve them.
We interviewed tens of thousands of people to understand their justice needs. From their kitchen tables, people from 12 countries led us through their justice journeys. They mostly encounter issues in their family, at work, in their neighbourhood, regarding land or related to violence and theft.
From these findings, we put forward a path to make justice systems more responsive to the needs of users. The data strongly suggest that traditional legal procedures alone cannot meet all needs. Solutions need to focus on building understanding and improving relationships rather than assigning blame. We see a wide variety of methods that are working in the field with big potential for scaling-up, if legal systems would embrace them.
Globally, innovation is encouraging, nearing a major breakthrough. It is an exciting time to be in the justice sector. A transformation to evidence-based working is taking place. Judges are being released from overly legalistic procedures. This transformation needs to accelerate, so equal access to justice for all can be achieved. A major movement is building to make this happen. So societies can become more just, peaceful and inclusive (Sustainable Development Goal 16).