Our history

HiiL was set up in 2005. It brought together a small group of people who felt that justice systems were not delivering enough. The world was rapidly changing. Justice systems were not. New words were floating around – globalisation, increased interconnectedness. The advent of the information technology revolution. The million dollar question remains: How are they impacting justice delivery?

We were hungry for change

We first commissioned eight cutting edge research projects  by the best researchers to look at this. They looked at how rule-making was changing and becoming more informal, networked, and globalised. They saw courts having to take those new types of rules into account. Their legitimacy having to be constructed in different ways. How do you measure success? When is justice done? A research team also worked on new ways of measuring whether fairness was delivered. We also developed future scenarios: the law scenarios to 2030.

It became clear that we need innovation. We were hungry for change. Based on this research we developed the way we work today. We moved from research to action. HiiL is now a social enterprise. We changed our name from the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of law to the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law.

Some achievements:

  • HiiL has directly evaluated how people in 13 countries attempt to get justice to solve their problems of daily life. They have gathered knowledge on how people in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania and Europe go about solving their legal problems; their preferred sources of legal information and advice; and their satisfaction with the costs, procedures and outcomes. From the 70 thousand people surveyed, HiiL has gathered more than 70 million legal needs around the world.
  • HiiL selected, trained and funded 40 of the world’s best justice entrepreneurs, which have provided access to justice for 1.4 million people through their innovations.
  • HiiL developed local Innovating Justice Hubs in Nairobi, Lagos, Kiev, Kampala, Johannesburg, Tunis and The Hague to support justice innovations more closely.
  • HiiL has set up the Justice Leadership Group, which brings together ten distinguished justice leaders – former ministers, chief prosecutors, chief justices, attorney generals, presidents of international criminal courts – who have a demonstrable track record of leading impressive justice change in their countries or elsewhere.
  • HiiL has developed new justice mechanisms such as the Wildlife Justice Commission and ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation), a collaborative process towards living wages for workers in global textile and garment supply chains.