Understanding social costs and benefits of innovative forms of administration of justice

When citizens experience legal problems, it can greatly affect their well-being. Innovative justice can help citizens address legal problems outside of regular court procedures. The goal of innovative justice is to reduce the impact of legal problems on citizens’ well-being. Commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and Security, Ecorys conducted a social cost-benefit analysis (SCBA) to understand the costs and benefits of innovative justice.

A SCBA shows the positive and negative effects of proposed innovative forms of justice on the prosperity of the Netherlands. Here, researchers look not only at the effects for those directly involved but also at the broader social effects. These include financial costs and benefits but also, for example, effects on the quality of life and the living environment. Because citizens can face a wide variety of legal problems, this SCBA focuses on three specific cases: divorce, problems with the government, and labor disputes in small and medium-sized businesses.

To identify the effects of innovative forms of justice in the three case studies, Ecorys organized EffectArenas, during which researchers engaged in discussions with relevant stakeholders. Existing key figures from previous similar studies were also used. In addition, based on literature and expert estimates, substantiated assumptions about the magnitude of effects were made. All collected data were brought together in a mathematical model, with which the researchers calculated the identified cost-benefits with a realistic range for each case and compared them.

Based on the elaboration of the three cases, the effects of innovation in the wider legal system were also analyzed. For this purpose, the researchers extrapolated the identified effects of the three cases. The results of this extrapolation and the results of the elaboration of the three cases are further explained in Ecorys’ research report.

This research was conducted as part of the Growth Fund application by the Ministry of Justice and the Hague Institute for Innovation in Law.

Also see the full research report (in Dutch).

2 August 2022

2 minute read

Key Experts

Gabriëlle op 't Hoog

Senior Consultant