Looking for Justice, One Person at a Time / Sam Muller

Jan 19, 2023

Sam Muller and his colleagues at HiiL are in the business of building “people-centered justice” that works for everyone.

2023 looks likely to be a year of recession, inflation, social and labor unrest, war, the ravages of climate, food insecurity, rising inequality. One casualty of that mess is likely to be the rule of law; justice seems to take a beating when times are bad. Why is that?

The demand for justice is not only a basic human right, but also a human need. Yet justice systems in many countries, rich and poor, are too cumbersome, too wrapped up in formalities, too layered with complex and even contradictory laws. Is it possible to deliver effective justice at the individual level, to actually make justice systems work for people?

Our guest this week, Sam Muller, believes the answer is an emphatic, “Yes,” especially if it is based on data. As a Dutch legal expert he founded and today leads the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL). He and his colleagues are in the business of building “people-centered justice” that works for everyone.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Listen to the episode here or find the New Thininkg for a New World podcast on a platform of your choice (Apple podcastSpotifyStitcherGoogle podcastYoutube, etc).



Sam Muller is the founding director of HiiL. Its mission is to empower 150 million people to prevent or resolve their most pressing justice problems by 2030. An international lawyer by training, Sam works on justice strategy and innovation at the highest political levels, connecting knowledge about needs and what works with change processes that make a difference. The clients he has worked for include governments, international businesses and leading civil society organisations.

Sam also led the setting up of the Justice Leadership Foundation and the Wildlife Justice Commission.

Before his work at HiiL he was closely involved in building the International Criminal Court.  He worked as legal adviser at UNRWA and the then newly established ICTY. He holds a law degree and a doctorate from Leiden University and taught there. He has published and spoken extensively on various topics: legal trends and strategy, justice leadership, justice innovation, and international justice issues. Sam has served on many boards. He is currently chair of the supervisory board of World Wildlife Fund – The Netherlands and a member of the International Board of WWF. He was chair of the supervisory board of the Wildlife Justice Commission until September 2021 and board member until April 2022. He served as Senior Adviser to the Task Force on Justice that published a ground-breaking report in July 2019. He was active within the World Economic Forum on the topics of rule of law and justice, chairing two agenda councils. Sam is an alumnus of the Future Leaders Programme of the French Foreign Ministry and of the High-Performance Leadership Programme of the IMD. He is also a facilitator of leadership retreats for the Foundation for Natural Leadership. In November 2022 he  was awarded the 2022 Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Award “for his innovative work in creating and implementing new, concrete concepts and ways of working for law practitioners that focus on solving people’s real needs and thereby reinforce their commitment to democracy.

1 Comment

  1. Abdul Monir

    The World is passing a crucial time of war, climate challenges, economic drawback and leaderless situation – if so, then what program TALLBERG Foundation like to do for the Next Generation and How?


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