Metrics of Justice Innovation

This page is under construction. We present a first collection of resources, but there is much more to come.

There are many innovative projects happening to improve access to justice– but how do we take the next step, to evaluate them?

On this page, we present two things: indicators that can be metrics for the performance of an intervention, and different methods to measure early-stage, piloted, and full implementations. This includes tools to review websites and other digital experiences; to gather user feedback and make it meaningful; and to judge how a service, organization, or other big system design has worked.

Measurements often are custom-designed for a project, but there can be some more general tools and principles that can be used across projects.

Metrics to measure access to justice

Comparing case outcomes among litigants, to see if people of different demographics, service-types, or other factors are receiving comparable outcomes

Making of claims — are litigants who have defenses, claims, or counterclaims, able to assert these? Or are there claims that are not made, to the person’s detriment?

Ability to correctly, efficiently Navigate Procedure

Usability and User Experience of services, technology, and documents

Transparency and Perceived Control

Sense of Dignity and Respect

Time and Money Costs of the Administrative Burdens: This concern, which is closely interrelated with usability, transparency, and dignity, is a growing concept in other areas of policy-making. How much burden does a given procedure (of filling in forms, collecting evidence, mailing and serving documents, attending meetings, and other tasks) put on a person? How costly are these procedural/administrative burdens to them?

In these policy-making circles, there are models for how to assess time and money costs of a given administrative/government procedure that a citizen has to go through. How burdensome is it, and how do we quantify that in terms of monetary and time cost per person?

For example, this European policymaker group has a Standard Cost Model for citizens, for use by agencies to determine the true costs of a given procedure for the people who will have to use it.

A snapshot of how this policymaking group determines Administrative Burden of a given procedure.

  • Stable Housing: does a person have a stable home for themselves and their family?
    • Is an eviction or disruptive displacement prevented, even after an unlawful detainer lawsuit or notice to quit is filed?
    • If a person is facing an eviction, are they able to be placed in safe, stable housing?
    • Does a person have sufficient time to make plans after an eviction lawsuit is filed, to get to stable housing?
  • Family: do parents and kids end up in safe, stable situations after going through a legal problem?
    • Are parents and their children kept together, or reunited?
    • Are divorces granted efficiently?
    • Are children protected?

This can also be measured through SROI — the Social Return on Investment, a model developed by the Robin Hood Foundation to estimate the Anti-Poverty impact of a given intervention. See their formula here, at their Metrics page.

Open Door Legal Service’s description of the SROI model

  • Prevention of Lawsuits: are potential problems and disputes resolved before it is brought to a court filing? 
  • Is there Deterrence of harmful and bad behavior, because societal actors (like debt collectors or landlords) are aware that people know their rights and are able to use the legal system effectively?

One way to measure this is the Robin Hood Foundation’s model for Deterrence.

MargaretMetrics of Justice Innovation