[Featured Resource] Delivering Justice, Rigorously: A guide to people-centred justice programming

This month we feature Delivering Justice, Rigorously: A guide to people-centred justice programming, by the The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) (@paulinakozlowska).

When injustices occur, people need effective redress. This report describes how people-centred justice services can be programmed systematically. It is written for “justice reform task forces:” commissions, justice leaders and private initiatives asserting ownership for the availability of high-quality justice services.

Members of task forces tend to agree about the urgency, which has become more prominent during the Covid-19 crisis. The effectiveness and reach of justice services need to be increased. Resolution rates for pressing justice problems hover around 30 percent, with many people getting stuck on their path to justice. Too many injustices occur that can otherwise be prevented. The impact of continuing injustice on people’s lives can be devastating: violence, loss of work, damaged relationships, loss of money, debts, loss of freedom and enduring stress related to unsolved problems.

The cumulative impact of personal injustices on social harmony and economic development is severe, as shown by quantifying the yearly burden of injustice. Based on this, a task force can project whether current justice services will meet the demand for justice.

Based on HiiL’s experience with justice reform programs, policy-trends and the increasing body of research, this report sketches how task forces can ensure better outcomes for people seeking justice. We show how task forces can focus on strengthening justice services that are game-changing. These services can sustainably deliver processes for justice problems based on best practices and evidence.

More about Delivering Justice, Rigorously: A guide to people-centred justice programming:

They describe five strategic interventions that can guide task forces. Each of them builds on best practices for justice reform that are increasingly accepted internationally:

  1. Implementing evidence-based processes for resolving crime issues and disputes;
  2. Standardising and scaling justice services in a financially sustainable way;
  3. Creating an enabling regulatory and financial environment: a level-playing field for more effective processes and game-changing justice services;
  4. Monitoring justice problems, justice journeys and outcomes achieved to ensure continuous improvement;
  5. Cooperating nationally and internationally to address this common challenge actively.

The report details how task forces can make a case for reform and how to mobilise resources. They have to build capacity to work in a multidisciplinary way. They need to bring in diverse capabilities from outside and reconcile them with the operational culture within the broader justice ecosystem in which they need to acquire legitimacy.

Successful task forces scope their work and set an agenda early. They formulate indicators regarding outcomes for people they want to achieve. They are fully aware of how implementation happens. They focus on the most pressing justice problems and services that can be truly game-changing, enabling them by establishing a level playing field.

Task forces add momentum to the change processes needed to transition from mostly adversarial legal procedures to mostly people-centred justice. They are guided by what people need to cope with injustices and by what works to prevent new injustices.

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It’s an interesting read and am looking forward to seeing it come to light in Port-Harcourt Nigeria, where I live close to the Urban poor areas, where the existence of Justice is only in the pages of papers and never practical. Am more worried about the reckless abuse by the law enforcement agencies, the Army, Police, Civil defense, Navy and Air force personals who have turned themselves to semi god’s to deprive the Urban poor of Justice. The legal system is not doing any good either, it’s expensive to get justice and even those who can afford are going through so much intimidation that they end up forgetting about seeking for justice. The task force if introduced out here will go a long way to bring sanity to our Justice system and give the Urban poor freedom to seek for justice and protect their rights.

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