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.
Indicators to measure for access to justice
Substantive Justice outcomes
When trying to resolve their legal problem, does a person get a fair and just outcome according to the law? Are they able to assert their rights and make full use of the law to protect their interests?
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?
Procedural Justice outcomes
While a person goes through the procedures of the legal system, do they have a dignified, transparent, efficient, and fair experience? Do they understand what is happening, are they able to navigate the process, are they able to manage the hurdles, and complete all the tasks while still feeling in control?
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.
Longer term outcomes
After a person has gone through their legal problem and/or the legal system, what is their financial, family, housing, and health situation? Do they have negative experiences around poverty, displacement, depression, debt, sickness, or other disruption?
- 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.
Prevention of problems
Are justice problems prevented, so that a person doesn’t need to go through the legal system to get to resolution?
- 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.