Digital technology and judicial reform

A new report looks at the use of digital technologies in judicial reform and access to justice cooperation. The demand for justice is vast. Each year, more than 1 billion people face a serious justice problem. Up to 70% of these problems remain unresolved or get resolved in a way perceived as unfair. The report covers 68+ countries and addresses the global implications of technology in the justice sector.


German Development Cooperation





Person in charge

Kanan Dhru

Innovative approaches to deliver justice in a more people-centred way have emerged. Private-sector initiatives and public institutions are creating solutions that prevent and resolve most pressing justice issues of people. This report analyses a variety of delivery models that are taking shape across high-income, middle-income and low-income countries, with a focus on the role played by technology in the way institutions perform their functions. The report analyses various delivery models taking shape across high-income, middle-income and low-income countries.

To explore how emerging innovative approaches can deliver justice in a more people-centred way, HiiL analysed 150 justice innovations — 75 Gamechangers and 75  government-led technology innovations. For each innovation we collected data on 15 parameters in order to inform our analysis. These include the type of justice problems addressed, technology deployed, demographic focus, capacity to resolve the justice problems, and their financial models. 

Research from HiiL and German Development Cooperation show private-sector initiatives and public institutions creating solutions that prevent and resolve pressing justice issues of people. A variety of delivery models are taking shape with technology playing a prominent role in the way institutions now deliver results.

In this report, we develop an international and comparative overview of justice innovations with a focus on government-centred technology innovations in improving rule of law and access to justice. Through interviews and literature review, we identify the barriers, opportunities and risks that justice innovations present to improving the rule of law and access to justice.


The report sought to answer the following questions:

  • What is the potential of current (technological) innovations to resolve or prevent each of the most urgent justice problems?
  • What is the potential of current (technological) innovations to support effective and sustainable delivery models in the informal and formal systems?
  • What is the medium term potential of innovative approaches to improve prevention/resolution and delivery models?
  • What are the systemic and practical barriers and risks these innovations face?


Keys findings from the study include:

  • Government-led justice-tech innovations and gamechangers most frequently address justice problems related to crime, business, family, civil and land. 
  • Target groups most served by innovations include the government, urban population, lawyers and law firms, and small and medium-sized enterprises. 
  • Tools and technology most used by the innovations are web portals, social media, electronic case management systems, artificial intelligence, multilingual chat platforms, and blockchain. 
  • A significant percentage of innovations (67%) exclude people who do not have access to technology. 


This report was supported by and developed in consultation with the German Development Cooperation.


experts involved


justice innovations analysed


countries covered