“Tech the Justice Gap: transforming justice through innovation and collaboration”

On 29 November, HiiL hosted “Tech the Justice Gap”, an event exploring the transformative potential of technology in reshaping the landscape of justice to relieve the burden on justice systems and increase the capacity to resolve people’s everyday justice needs.

Held under the esteemed patronage of the Presidency of the Tunisian Government, the event showcased the startups that concluded our latest Justice Accelerator programme and invited diverse stakeholders to explore how technology could make justice more accessible, affordable, and easy-to understand for all. After panel discussions and startups pitches, the event culminated in the Innovating Justice Award ceremony where the top three startups were announced.

‘Tech the Justice Gap’, held in Tunis and livestreamed, saw a convergence of representatives of government, the private sector, and investors, all united with a shared commitment to resolving citizens justice needs more effectively.

 Opening remarks were made by Slim Ben Jrad, Director General of Governance and Corruption Prevention of the Government of Tunisia, Elias Milad, representative of the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, Najla Triki representing the dean of the Bar Association and Erik Petersen, Deputy Ambassador, HiiL’s Ronald Lenz, and CEO Sam Muller who both emphasized the importance of addressing access to justice and advancing people-centered justice for better justice delivery globally. 

“This event is about closing the justice gap with the power of difference. Bringing together the government, the private sector, civil society organizations, research organisations, innovators and investors. They are all needed to help resolve the 4,4 million justice problems a year that are now not being resolved fairly and expeditiously in Tunisia.”

How emerging technology can improve access to justice

The first panel discussion on ‘How emerging technology can improve access to justice’ commenced with a video fully scripted and animated by AI setting the stage for discussions on generative AI’s role in legal practice and the potential of mobile technologies to advance SDG16.

Public Sector, startups & investors together for people-centred justice. From how and when to let’s do it

The second panel discussion: “Public Sector, startups & investors together for people-centred justice. From how and when to let’s do it”,  explored the mission-driven approach to product development and navigated  potential challenges, including protective regulations, emphasising the positive use of technology for societal good. The discussions at the event have a clear goal: to deliver justice to all levels of society, ensuring customer satisfaction and measuring happiness through invaluable feedback. The overarching message resonates: technology is not the answer to everything but a powerful means to an end, driving the development of solutions that put people in the centre of the design. 

Speakers concluded that to truly achieve our big goal, providing access to justice for all, we need to collaborate and work together. From the public sector’s commitment to innovation, startups’ disruptive solutions, to investors’ impact-driven support, the forces are diverse and can come together to bridge the gap of investment, collaboration and regulatory framework. 

Startup pitches

Highlighting the role of innovation in addressing justice gaps, the event celebrated 17 startups from Nigeria, Kenya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine. These startups, accelerated by HiiL,  presented their innovative solutions which were designed in  response to the most pressing justice problems in their country.  In Nigeria, Tunisia and Kenya these problems were identified through Justice Needs and Satisfaction surveys (JNS) carried out by HiiL which identified some of the most pressing justice challenges including  money issues, employment, social welfare, crime, housing, and mSME. The selection of startups  showcased the diversity of approaches to creating a positive impact on access to justice.

The jury committee, comprising distinguished judges including Olivia Gao, Senior Investment Associate at Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures, Hope Wandera, Investment Analyst at Mercy Corps Venture, and Ghazi Saddem, Organisational Management and Digital Transformation Consultant, evaluated the startups based on impact, sustainability, and the feasibility of their business models.

The event concluded with the announcement of the winners of the Innovating Justice Award. Oqoodi , who joined us via videoconference from Gaza, secured the first-place position and a cash prize of €20,000.

Awabah, claimed the second spot, receiving €10,000. The third place went to NaTakallam, with a cash prize of €5,000.The audience, both in-person and online, actively participated in selecting the People’s Choice Award winner: ToNote 


People in war zones and vulnerable communities face many justice problems including, but not limited to losing access to decent working conditions. Oqoodi addressed this challenge out of Gaza by empowering Arab freelancers document their contracts, manage their projects from the moment of agreement until project completion, including handling financial and accounting complexities.


NaTakallam is based in Lebanon and offers refugees digital jobs, where they teach their mother tongue to people seeking to learn a new language.


Awabah is based in Nigeria and helps gig workers – many of whom have not been able to obain IDs thus making it difficult to access public services.  Awabah helps them specifically with to access pension schemes and health insurance.

Social welfare/public benefits-related problems are more common among those who cannot cover their basic needs. HiiL Justice Accelerator programme thus seeks startups that focus on access to health care, education, water, electricity, internet, and infrastructure. Public services such as services provided by the municipality and basic services like obtaining IDs can be very bureaucratic and hard to navigate as was illustrated by Tarek Cheleifa during the first panel disucssion. Obtaining IDs is the bare minimum for an individual to access public services from education to employment to health care, a bank account or even accomodation. Gig workers usually lack access to many benefits such as insurance and pension.


“Tech the Justice Gap” showed the transformative power of technology in reshaping the justice landscape. With a shared commitment from diverse stakeholders, including the public sector, private sector, and investors, the event emphasized the importance of people-centred justice. From insightful panel discussions to innovative startup pitches, the overarching theme resonated: technology serves as a potent means to bridge the justice gap, making legal services more accessible, affordable, and comprehensible for all.

The recognition of startups such as Oqoodi, Awabah, and NaTakallam underscored the impact of innovation in addressing specific justice challenges, placing people and people-centred justice at the forefront of legal solutions.

Watch the aftermovie

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