THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – On Thursday, May 2, 2019 at the World Justice Forum in The Hague, Netherlands, the World Justice Project announced five project winners in a worldwide competition to identify and highlight effective and promising work to increase access to justice. As revealed at the World Justice Forum launch of the Task Force on Justice's "Justice for All" report, more than 5 billion people have unmet justice needs globally. This justice gap includes people who cannot obtain justice for everyday problems, people who are excluded from the opportunity the law provides, and people who live in extreme conditions of injustice.

The 2019 World Justice Challenge: Access to Justice Solutions competition sought to identify projects working to provide access to justice to these excluded groups, and contribute to the movement to close the justice gap and realize justice for all. Thirty World Justice Challenge finalists were invited to present their projects at the World Justice Forum in The Hague, and five $10,000 USD prize-winners were announced at the Forum’s closing plenary session on May 2.

Congratulations to the 2019 World Justice Challenge: Access to Justice Solutions winners:

  • 160 Girls Access to Justice Project, The Equality Effect, Kenya
    Nearly two-thirds of Kenyan girls experience sexual assault. In 2013 the Kenyan High Court found that police failure to enforce existing rape law had created a climate of impunity. This project is working to change this culture through police trainings, education, and creative legal advocacy projects.    
  • Partnering for Native Health, Alaska Legal Services Corporation, United States
    Indigenous populations throughout the United States experience some of the greatest health inequalities. This project is the first US collaboration delivering health-impacting civil legal assistance to a target population of economically vulnerable indigenous individuals, specifically targeting remote and rural areas. PNH addresses indigenous peoples social determinants of health by using legal empowerment and education as a tool to improve the health and safety of tribal members, and establishing culturally appropriate locally based networks of civil legal attorneys embedded in the tribal health care delivery system. 
  • Malawi Resentencing Project; Cornell Centre on the Death Penalty Worldwide, The Malawi Legal Aid Bureau, and Reprieve; Malawi
    In 2007, the Malawi High Court struck down the mandatory death penalty on the grounds that it violated the accused’s constitutional rights to a fair trial and access to justice. This project was established in 2014 by a coalition of stakeholders to secure and support new sentence hearings that adhered to international fair trial standards.
  • Riverine People & the Right to Full Reparation, Instituto Socioambiental - ISA, Brazil
    In 2015, 300 families who lived on the islands and banks of the Xingu River, state of Pará, Brazil, were forcibly displaced from their homes to make way for the reservoir of Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant. This project, through strategic advocacy and a broad negotiation with the Brazilian government and the corporation, was able to influence the elaboration and implementation of an adequate reparation policy for traditional populations impacted by large infrastructure projects.
  • Monitoring Maternal Health Entitlements & Increasing Access to Grievance Redressal, Nazdeek, India
    The State of Assam experiences the highest maternal mortality rate in India. Health concerns are compounded on tea plantations where workers face substandard working conditions that negatively impact their health. This project developed grievance forums to identify and monitor rights violations, provide a mechanism for communities and the legal/administrative systems to discuss issues and concerns, and ultimately assist women in seeking redressal for their maternal and child health problems.

World Justice Challenge awards ceremony
World Justice Challenge prize winners accept their awards at the World Justice Forum on May 2, 2019, in The Hague, Netherlands. From left: Shreya Sen, Senior Program Officer, Nazdeek; Tripti Poddar, Justice Program Associate, Nazdeek; Ana De Francesco, Anthropologist, Instituto Socioambiental; Chimwemwe Chithope-Mwale, Chief Legal Aid Advocate, Legal Aid Bureau Malawi; Nikole Nelson, Executive Director, Alaska Legal Services Corporation; Izzy Williamson, Project Director, Partnering for Native Health; Jenna Kara, Legal Intern, The Equality Effect; Julia Green, Legal Intern, The Equality Effect.

(Photo: Richard Theemling for World Justice Project


The World Justice Project received a wide range of applications highlighting projects tackling the justice gap from nongovernmental, governmental, and civil society organizations. The five winning World Justice Challenge projects—selected out of 30 finalists and over 250 submissions—represent some of the best work being done globally to increase access to justice.

“The World Justice Challenge competition was one of the most engaging and inspiring parts of the Forum,” said James R. Silkenat, WJP Board of Directors member and 2019 World Justice Challenge judge. “We invited organizations and institutions throughout the world to highlight effective projects aimed at increasing access to justice. The response to our call was very impressive.” 

Challenge applications were judged on impact, sustainability, replicability, scalability, and promise for the future. Thirty finalists were invited to travel to the 2019 World Justice Forum in The Hague, Netherlands where they presented their projects and were featured in the Forum expo to share their good practices and successful solutions to improve access to justice. Forum participants voted for their favorite projects via the World Justice Forum event app during the week of the conference. Winners were selected through a combination of participant votes and an expert selection committee. Each winning project received a $10,000 USD prize in recognition of its achievement and impact.

Watch the award ceremony here, and learn more about the World Justice Challenge, including winners, finalists, and honorable mentions here.

The 2019 World Justice Challenge competition was made possible through sponsorship by the WJP's League of Law Firms

The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide. Effective rule of law reduces corruption, combats poverty and disease, and protects people from injustices large and small. It is the foundation for communities of justice, opportunity, and peace—underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights. Learn more at:

[email protected]
(206) 792-7676

title bar

Read More

title bar

The most recent WJP Rule of Law Index found that the pandemic has exacerbated rising authoritarianism, eroded respect for fundamental rights, and fueled justice delays around the world.  At the upcoming World Justice Forum (May 30–June 3), advocates and experts from civil society, government, and the private sector will convene to plot a constructive path forward.  How can we reinvigorate momentum to reach Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and ensure dignity and justice for all?

Read More

The city of The Hague in the Netherlands is home to more than 200 international organizations, including the International Court of Justice. This makes it the ideal setting for the World Justice Forum, the premier international event for advancing rule of law around the globe. The World Justice Forum runs from May 30-June 2, but your experience doesn’t have to start or end there, as it is the anchor event for The Hague Justice Week 2022 running throughout the city.

Read More
2016 march to the U.S. Capitol in protest of police shootings.  Credit: Joseph Gruber

The United States is facing significant and growing rule of law challenges. Diverse datasets capturing various dimensions of the rule of law reflect mounting concerns about democratic accountability, trust in electoral processes, contested rights of free expression and assembly, and systemic inequities in the U.S. justice system, among other issues, These trends raise questions about the quality of governance in the United States and, given the leadership role of the United States globally, they have implications for respect for the rule of law around the world as well. New data and related advanced analytical and machine learning methodologies hold great promise for improving understanding of these current U.S. rule of law trends and identifying reform needs and opportunities. As part of a new multi-year initiative focused on rule of law in the United States, the World Justice Project (WJP), together with the Wright Center for the Study of Computation and Justice Communities at Dartmouth College and Bright Line Watch, plans a two-day workshop for discussion of works-in-progress generating data insights on contemporary U.S. rule of law issues. The workshop will take place November 11-13, 2022, at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Travel stipends will be available to support participation by those selected to present papers at the workshop.

Read More
Russian tanks lined up for “Victory Day” in 2021. Credit: Elena Ostankova/iStock
Russian tanks lined up for “Victory Day” in 2021. Credit: Elena Ostankova/iStock

Vladimir Putin’s claims of genocide in Ukraine were more than a fictional basis to rally domestic support for an invasion, according to University of Chicago Professor Tom Ginsburg. They were an example of a growing trend Ginsburg has termed “authoritarian international law.”  We spoke with Ginsburg, the co-chair of the World Justice Project’s research consortium and the author of the 2021 book Democracies and International Law

Read More