The backs of a crowd of protesters with the arms in the air

Global Justice Lab

Global Justice Lab

At the Global Justice Lab we study justice systems under pressure worldwide and examine how justice is conceived, practiced and experienced by individuals, officials and societies.

The Global Justice Lab studies and supports organizations, systems and entire societies that are under significant pressure to change. Many justice systems struggle to maintain their social license in the face of demographic shifts, rapid economic development and the erosion of traditional governance regimes. Some face competition from other public and private sector players claiming to offer fairer, more effective or more cost-efficient solutions to justice-related problems. And of course stressors such as escalating political demands, growing perceptions of inequality and changing patterns of violence present acute challenges to the status quo.


In responding to these types of stress, justice systems worldwide are subject to chronic strain. Traditionally resilient structures and processes are often hard-pressed to meet the rising expectations of elected officials, civil servants, international institutions, advocacy groups, the media and the general public.

Understanding how organizations and societies cope with these pressures – or in some cases fail to do so – is the core focus of the Global Justice Lab. We look at how justice players adjust and adapt, tinker and improvise, deflect and resist. And we evaluate their success across the spectrum of possible responses, from reacting selectively to empirical evidence, to embracing innovative ideas that promise genuine change, to rebranding old habits in order to avoid changing at all.

In the news

NYT - photo by Michelle Gustafson

A new Global Justice Lab report on public prosecutions is featured in the New York Times

Global Justice Lab in The Atlantic

A new Global Justice Lab report on public prosecutions is featured in The Atlantic.