Blog June 30, 2022

Justice Action Update—June 2022

  • Justice
  • Justice Action Coalition

The movement for people-centered justice was energized at the World Justice Forum, the largest global event on justice this year, which was held in The Hague and online from 30 May to 3 June. For the first time after the pandemic, justice leaders, civil servants, activists, lawyers, innovators, community justice providers, academics and others working for justice, had a chance to engage in person to discuss new data and evidence, emerging trends, and the role of justice actors in our current global predicament.

Led by World Justice Project and in close collaboration with its co-producing partners, CIVICUS, HiiL, IDLO, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, the World Justice Forum is becoming more than just a conference, it is a place to get things done: It offers space for technical discussions, agenda-setting panels, workshops, bilateral meetings and chance encounters that can lead to new collaborations. It also brings together teams that work remotely in different locations and offers a chance to catch up with colleagues.

This second edition of the Justice Action Update highlights key takeaways from the World Justice Forum, reports on recent activities of the Justice Action Coalition and the Young Justice Leaders, places Colombia in the spotlight, has an overview of the working session of the Ibero-American Justice Alliance and the launch of the Inequality and Exclusion Report, and much more!

Ready to subscribe? Click here.

  1. Key takeaways from the World Justice Forum

The main takeaway is that people-centered justice is finally hitting the mainstream. The concept is simple to understand and easy to communicate — with the potential to resonate with leaders and decision-makers outside the justice sector including those who control finance and, campaigners. We need to hone simple and clear messages that capture and spread the core concept of people-centered justice, while we continue to develop a coherent plan of action and a community of ‘doers’ who are committed to implementation at scale.

It also emerged that even as we focus on solutions, we shouldn’t shy away from the politics. The people-centered justice community is beginning to develop a portfolio of solutions that can be researched and tested, costed and shaped for investment, and adapted to different contexts. But, in doing so, the political dimensions of justice must not be neglected, especially at a time when many governments/ elites are undermining the rule of law and closing civic space, and when justice institutions are often corrupt, abusive, and responsible for deepening inequality and exclusion.

Data and finance are key enablers of change. We need greater investment in evidence of what works, and in a broader range of research on how to deliver people-centered justice at scale. A related priority is building stronger links between researchers and policymakers and ensuring that data is presented in a way that aids decision-making. And, while new sources of funding (such as legal empowerment at the grassroots) are helpful, we also urgently need a debate on how to finance a systemic shift towards people-centered justice.

Finally, progress since the last World Justice Forum has sprung from a political mobilization and a much stronger alignment between key actors on people-centered justice. Greater success will only be possible if this mobilization is extended and deepened. The Justice Action Coalition has the potential to be the high ambition coalition for the justice sector, with a committed group of member states at its heart, concerted support from across the international system, and a powerful voice for the grassroots.

Please note — These takeaways are drawn from discussions at the strategy lunch during the World Justice Forum. If you’d like to receive the full report, let us know at

2. Coalition updates

The World Justice Forum offered a favorable habitat for the Justice Action Coalition to convene its second Ministerial Meeting on the 30th of May, in a hybrid format and hosted by Minister Schreinemacher of the Netherlands. The Ministerial meeting adopted the Justice Appeal 2023, calling on all countries to make the pivot to people-centered justice which includes:

  1. Gathering data on the justice people want and need and how they experience their justice journey.
  2. Co-creating strategies to become much better at resolving and preventing people’s most common justice problems, ensuring gender equality of all responses.
  3. Setting shared goals for a range of justice actors and starting implementation of strategies to achieve these goals.
  4. Investing at scale to transform justice as it is delivered to and experienced by people, reducing the number of unresolved justice problems, and creating fair outcomes.
Photo: Justice Action Coalition Ministerial Meeting at the World Justice Forum

A couple of days later, on the 1st of June, the Justice Action Coalition met in-person at the senior level to take forward the decisions of the Ministerial meeting and discuss global opportunities, national priorities as well as the Joint Deliverables that partners are working on. The key outcomes of the Senior Level Meeting were that:

  1. Participants agreed to collaborate and promote the Justice Appeal 2023 at HLPF and other regional and global events, including OECD and OGP regional and global meetings, annual meetings of UNDP, IDLO and World Bank and during the next Global Week for Justice.
  2. The Netherlands MFA will work to set up the task team, which will design a flexible and effective permanent structure of the Coalition. The members of the Justice Action Coalition will take the necessary steps to put in place and launch the agreed permanent structure at the SDG Summit 2023.
  3. The members of the Justice Action Coalition will make the pivot to people-centered justice, domestically and internationally, will demonstrate progress on providing access to justice at the SDG Summit in 2023 and will collaborate to make the SDG Summit a festival for delivery of justice for all.

Justice Appeal 2023 — a call to action!

Speaking about the Justice Action Coalition at the 2022 UNDP Annual Meeting on Rule of Law and Human Rights, the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York, Yoka Brandt, highlighted the Justice Appeal in which the members of the Justice Action Coalition, “… call on all justice actors to come to the SDG Summit in September 2023 with data and evidence to demonstrate their contribution to closing the global justice gap. We look forward to concrete examples about how we can collectively put our money where our mouths are.”

Photo: Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York

3. Pathfinders sessions at the World Justice Forum

Launch of the Young Justice Leaders

The inaugural cohort of Young Justice Leaders was launched at the World Justice Forum through an intergenerational dialogue with the former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, and current chair of The EldersMary Robinson. During the dialogue, moderated by David Steven, the Young Justice Leaders presented their vision for achieving a world with people-centered justice for all.

Featuring contributions from Alisa JimenezShaneel Lal and Vino Lucero and from other young justice leaders from around the world, the dialogue, which was moderated by David Steven, focused on how to amplify and complement the work of youth towards addressing justice issues through an inclusive, multi-sectoral, and intergenerational approach. The event, which was streamed live on The Elders’ YouTube Channel, can be viewed here.

The Ibero-American Justice Alliance

The Ibero-American Alliance for Access to Justice was, officially launched and presented to the global community at the World Justice Forum. The Alliance aims to coordinate and give visibility to the work of the extensive network of justice associations and actors providing access to justice for all in the region. The working session focused on practical examples of people-centered justice from the region, as a prelude to the regional progress report on Justice for All to be presented in 2023 together with other Justice Action Coalition deliverables. The progress report will focus on:

  • Regional justice data and innovation
  • Building a normative framework for access to justice and
  • Leaving no one behind

The speakers included Maria Fernanda RodriguezLuciana BercovichKarina GerlachGrace HulsemanJairo Acuña, Enrique Gil BotteroMariano Guillén-Oquendo MartínezMarco Fandiño and, Rivana Ricarte. They highlighted the importance of the diversity of members in the alliance, which facilitates the exchange of information, joint work between civil society and governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions, international organizations, and avoids overlapping and duplication of efforts.

Photo: Launch of the Ibero-American Alliance at the World Justice Forum

Launch of the Inequality and Exclusion Report

The Pathfinders’ Inequality and Exclusion Program Launched its flagship report, From Rhetoric to Action: Delivering Equality and Inclusion”. The speakers for the event were Nicolás Marugán ZalbaLuciana BercovichDr. Faiza Shaheen and Swati Mehta whose insightful contributions illustrated:

  • A framework for understanding what strategies in delivering people-centered justice have worked to reduce both economic inequality and group-based discrimination, based on the findings of the flagship report
  • National and international experiences in delivering people-centered justice and building equitable and inclusive societies, including anti-racism legislation and open government initiatives as well as grassroots mobilization
  • Ongoing and new challenges in gathering data on group-based inequalities and discrimination, addressing prejudice in society and communicating progress effectively

4. Country in the spotlight: Colombia

According to the Grasping the Justice Gap report, weak justice data is stymying the attainment of justice for all. Policymaking, resource allocation, innovation and the implementation of game-changing solutions are all aspects that are underwritten by good data.

This is why one of the key deliverables and cross-cutting themes of the Justice Action Coalition is people-centered justice data — understanding the justice that people actually want and need and getting information about their experiences along the justice journey, from problem to solution.

Colombia, a member of the Justice Action Coalition, has been taking significant steps toward understanding the legal needs of its citizens. Based on the SDGs and following the National Planning Department’s (DNP) National Development Plan 2018–2022, Colombia has set the goal to improve access to justice for all from a people-centered outlook.

In doing so, Colombia has recognized the need to gather the correct information to diagnose the current state of effective access to justice in the country, define goals, and make public policy decisions. This has included the development of a “Legal Needs Module” within the “Quality of Life Survey-ECV 2016” and a collaboration between the Sub-Directorate of Justice of the DNP, in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and Law and the National Statistic Office, DANE, in the development of the legal needs’ questionnaire deployed as part of the 2020 “Coexistence and Citizen Security Survey -ECSC”. These milestones made it possible to develop the 2022 version of the “Legal Needs Module” under an inter-administrative agreement between the DNP, the Ministry of Justice and Law, The Superior Council of the Judiciary and DANE to be implemented during the second half of 2022.

Colombia is in the spotlight due to its commitment to people-centered justice data, which has resulted in the continuous refinement of its justice data collection processes in consultation with domestic and international partners, including the Pathfinders, HiiL and WJP. This journey has culminated in Colombia, through the DNP, building a pilot standalone legal needs survey in 2022. Previously, all legal needs data in Colombia has been collected through embedded questionnaires in other existing surveys. The decision to pilot an independent legal needs survey is a clear commitment to collecting accurate, reliable and impactful people-centered justice data.

5. Opinions, blogs, and other news

6. Latest reports on people-centered justice

Get in touch!Have an event, report or activity related to people-centered justice that you would like to see featured in this newsletter? Contact:

Ready to subscribe? Click here.