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Neighbour Justice

Sergio has an issue with his neighbours over noise complaints. He is not able to sleep properly because of the noise. During the day, he feels tired and moody. Sergio needs a solution to this problem so that he can live peacefully in his home and with his neighbour.

This page shows data on neighbour problems similar to the one experienced by Sergio. You can find data on outcomes that people get from the resolution of the problem, the impact of the problem on people’s lives, the kind of help people look for, knowledge on what works to solve neighbour problems and some bottlenecks.

Photo by Lan Yao from Pexels

Meet Sergio

My livelihood might be in danger if my problems continue to exist. I want to find a solution, because these problems are giving me a lot of stress.


This is what Sergio wants to achieve

My life will look different when my problems are resolved. I imagine a more peaceful home situation, with no stress and good relationships with my community. The kind of outcomes that I need are:


Most neighbour problems that people experience relate to noise, pets and animals, rowdy children, boundaries, and even visual annoyances such as property appearance and trash. Not all of these problems are fully resolved.

Neighbour problems cause harm to important relationships and loss of time

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The outcomes that people get

People want to restore the relationship with their neighbour and do so with respectful communication.

So far, people in Ethiopia and Uganda were asked about the kind of outcomes that they are getting when dealing with a neighbour justice problem.

This graph shows data from Uganda. Data from more countries will follow soon.

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How many new neighbour problems appear every year?

There are many more people like me, who experience problems with their neighbours.

This is the number of new neighbour problems in a country, per year. Derived from the Justice Needs and Satisfaction Survey that HiiL has conducted in 17 countries.

A legal problem is a problem that takes place in daily life. It could be a dispute, disagreement or grievance for which there is a resolution in the (formal or informal) law.

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The impact and consequences of dealing with neighbour problems

I experience harm to the relationship with my neighbour. Together with loss of time, this has led to some serious stress. My problem has caused negative effects.

The graph shows that loss of time, stress, and damage to important relationships can be a consequence of neighbour problems

The second graph points out that in some countries, many lives are negatively affected by neighbour problems.

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To what extent are problems being resolved?

My problem has been going on for a long time. I am in need of a fair resolution.

This graph shows percentages of people whose problems were resolved, are ongoing or are partially resolved.

People were asked about high-impact problems that they experienced in the last four years.

The graph shows that in Lebanon, Tunisia and Jordan, many neighbour problems are still ongoing.

People get help in different ways. Some go to court. Others take action by themselves.

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These are the justice providers people go to for help.

There are many ways to resolve neighbour problems. This is where people go if they need a solution.

The steps that people take to resolve a problem is a justice journey

This graph shows dispute resolution mechanisms they may use during a journey.

As the data shows, self-action and social networks are important resolution mechanisms for dealing with neighbour justice problems.

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These are the most helpful justice providers

I want a fair resolution. What can I do myself?

Data shows that in Mali and Nigeria, among other countries, personal networks were perceived as the most helpful in resolving people’s neighbour problems. Other countries show different data.

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Evaluating experiences

Do people with neighbour neighbour problems get solutions they are looking for? The broad idea of justice can be broken down in a number of elements. Respect, voice and procedural clarity are things that people value in a procedure. In outcomes, they want repaired relationships with neighbours, and fewer problems in the community they live in. Ideally, procedures are swift, low cost and not too stressful.


Bottlenecks in dealing with neighbour problems

For people dealing with neighbour problems, it is difficult to find the right help. Neighbour problems tend to go on for a long while. The data show that people heavily rely on self-action and social networks. In most countries, there is no clear trajectory for neighbour problems. There might be many services offered, but finding the specific service that could provide a solution remains challenging, leading to many unresolved and on-going neighbour problems. 

Innovations in neighbour justice

As the data on this page show, resolving neighbour problems remains a challenge. We want to show you innovations that are actively providing solutions to neighbour problems.

These innovations are reimagining justice delivery in neighbour disputes: