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People at the center justice systems

We have two key strategies to put people at the center of justice systems: the Justice Innovation Growth Facility and Justice Transformation Labs. Six years ago, HiiL has established the Justice Accelerator program that supports local people and teams engaged in SDG16.3, and other linked SDGs (8, 3 etc.) activities. We help them grow with customized support. In partnership with SIDA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, we are now implementing 4 locally run Justice Accelerators in Kampala, Lagos, Johannesburg and Nairobi that incubate and scale-up legal innovations addressing people's everyday access to justice problems. When they get to a certain size, we have seen that there is a funding gap; a bottleneck that stops them growing further. The Justice Innovation Growth Facility will work on filling that gap, to help the proven models of justice innovations reach millions of people to prevent or resolve their pressing justice problems, at the same time as improving livelihoods, health, and prosperity. Together with Clifford Chance we will promote and develop user-friendly justice innovation at scale, with a special focus on Africa. For more information, see: https://www.hiil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/190829-Justice-Innovation-Growth-Facility.pdf. HiiL, in partnership with Reos Partners, offers an innovative strategy to deepen and accelerate SDG16. Justice Transformation Labs take a systemic, collaborative, and experimental approach to justice, combining evidence-based and stakeholder-driven approaches. These labs are implemented at country level in partnership with leading national stakeholders but can also be designed as sub-national or multi-local, transnational processes.

The key elements of transformation labs include:
1. Knowledge gathering on justice needs, trends, and existing solutions
2. Supporting capacities of justice leaders
3. Multi-stakeholder engagement and ownership
4. A strategic approach
5. Support and incubation of innovations
6. Building networks
The Justice Transformation Lab approach was developed based on many years of experience of both HiiL and Reos Partners. HiiL has been leading the field of evidence based justice innovation in many countries - including countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Reos Partners is a global leader in multi-stakeholder dialogues to resolve complex social challenges. Our most recent justice Transformation Lab focussed on Syria. We are now also engaged in a Lab in Mali. Much of the work is confidential and outside the limelight. https://www.hiil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/190905-Justice-Transformation-Labs.pdf. Underpinning both of these strategies is data. Data is collected about the everyday justice problems that matter most to people. This data offers a crucial evidence base to orient goal-setting, strategy development, decision-making and prioritization of targets. In addition, knowledge is gathered on the justice landscape, trends, and existing solutions, as well as mapping out other justice innovations and transformation processes underway that these two strategies need to complement, build on, and feed into. In this way, people, their needs and preferences, are put into the center of justice systems.

Expected impact

The impact of these two strategies is complementary, but will be dealt with in turn.
First, supporting one of our growth-stage innovators can help them in two critical ways:
1) it will allow them to scale their team, operations and marketing much faster, creating more impact by reaching thousands of people with access to justice problems.
2) it will allow them to become investment-ready and able to absorb bigger investments beyond 100K EUR. Thanks to the additional investment/grant these organizations are able to impact up to 1 million people currently suffering from unmet justice needs after 2-3 years.

Second, our Justice Transformation Labs help justice leaders develop evidence-based justice innovation strategies and empowered coalitions to implement them. They contribute to:
1) Locally owned strategies and policies adopted and implemented by local institutions at scale
2) Change in dominant narratives towards more people-centered approaches
3) Increased resolution rate for most urgent justice needs
4) Enhanced and recognized justice leadership and political will has found that business-as-usual approaches, including more courts, more lawyers and more litigation cannot provide enough capacity to reach SDG target 16.3. It will require new leadership, innovation, resources, and overall a transformation to a people-centered approach.



Goal 1
Goal 2
Goal 4
Goal 5
Goal 8
Goal 11
Goal 16
Financing (in USD)
15 USD
Basic information
Start: 01 January, 2019
Completion: 12 January, 2021
The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (Other relevant actor)
Reos Partners is an international social enterprise that designs and facilitates systemic, collaborative, and experimental processes gathering diverse actors to address a complex challenge together. See https://reospartners.com/. Clifford Chance is one of the world's pre-eminent law firms, with significant depth and range of resources across five continents. See https://www.cliffordchance.com/home.html. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, see www.minbuza.nl. The Swedish International Development Agency, see www.sida.se.
Initiative focused on COVID-19 pandemic response, prevention and recovery efforts
Not specified
Geographical coverage
West Asia
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficiaries
Legal entrepreneurs that innovate access to justice solutions. We are currently supporting 21 innovations across the globe, from Benin, Mali, Rwanda, India, Uganda, Nigeria and Bangladesh. These innovations help people overcome their most serious justice problems ranging from domestic violence, exploitation of workers, registration of undocumented children and legal protection for small local businesses.
Contact information
Vivian Vriends, Director Business Development, vivian.vriends@hiil.org,
The Hague
United Nations