How can we make the US justice system more accessible, equitable, and human-centered?

The Justice Innovation website profiles the needs, ideas, and methods for improving how the legal system works for people.

Stanford Legal Design Lab runs ongoing research, workshops, classes, and tech development to increase access to justice.

Explore the Lab’s Justice Innovation site if you are a court, legal aid group, foundation, or otherwise interested in making the justice system work better for people.  

What impact can Justice Innovation have?

Stanford Legal Design Lab has access to justice as its core mission. What does that mean in practice? We focus on 3 key metrics that can improve how people can use the justice system: participation, capability, and quality of justice.

The Legal Design Lab focuses on the civil justice system: when people are trying to resolve problems with their family, housing, employment, money, or other people. Increased access to justice would look like people being better able to participate in the system, being more capable as they do, and getting better procedural and substantive justice outcomes.

Impact 1: Participation

Increase people’s participation in the legal system, especially when their rights, money, freedom, and reputation are at risk. This includes working to decrease Failures to Appear at court hearings, and to decrease Default Judgment rates in housing and debt matters.

Impact 2: Capability

Increase people’s legal capabilities to navigate the legal system, which can ensure that people are willing to engage with the system, that they understand their rights and options, and are able to deploy this knowledge into strategies.

Impact 3: Justice Quality

Increase the quality of justice that people can reach in resolving their problems. This includes litigants’ sense of procedural justice throughout the case, the substantive justice in the cases’ outcomes, and the social justice of people’s outcomes after the case has finished.

Our Lab’s Justice Innovation Projects

The Legal Design Lab is working on many interventions that can increase access to justice. Here are some of our most recent examples of justice innovation interventions.



Eviction Defense website guide for Arizona

Our team, working with university, court, and foundation partners in Arizona, built the Arizona Eviction Self-Help website for tenants in Pima County to understand their rights, prepare documents, and get court hearing information for their upcoming eviction hearing.

We are currently running a randomized-control study in which tenants who have been sued for eviction, are sent fliers our team designed to let them know about their rights and the website. Then once they come to the website, we help them identify what defenses or counterclaims they might have, prepare an Answer or other forms, and find their case docket and timing information.

We will be publishing more about the design of this website (and the larger mailer and study design), and the outcomes of the website’s engagement and effectiveness levels.


Visual Guides to Legal Process

Give people a birds-eye view of what to do when appearing before a traffic court — and how to request relief from fines and fees.

The Legal Design Lab team created these open-source designs in our classes and now makes them widely available for replication and reuse. For example, we made these Traffic Court visuals in Design For Justice: Traffic Court, with our partners East Bay Community Law Center and NLADA. The visual designs for posters and handouts have been piloted in Alameda County, California. They were particularly created for courts that have recently introduced ‘Ability to Pay’ procedures.

If you would like to adapt these to your court or clinic, to help litigants understand their pleading options and how to request ‘Ability to Pay’ evaluation, please write to us. We will be happy to help you adapt these flowcharts and visuals to your context.

How can we make the legal system more accessible, user-friendly & just?

Welcome to Stanford Legal Design Lab’s Justice Innovation site, a clearinghouse of projects, ideas, and research for making a user-centered legal system.

We bring the best current projects and future ideas together to identify how we can get to 100% Access to Justice.

Our goal is to spotlight affordable, scalable, meaningful new projects that courts, clinics, startups, and others can deploy.

Resources to work on justice innovation

We’ve been compiling tools and principles to use when working on building new access to justice interventions.


This is a project of the Legal Design Lab at Stanford Law School.

Legal Design Lab logo login-03

Have any feedback for us?