In the digital age that we live in, the historic workings of the UK courts and lack of public education relating to dispute resolution can form a barrier to justice for many. An event at the Law Society on 25 March sought to address how legal tech could improve access to justice.
In law firms we are used to hearing that legal tech can improve the lives of lawyers in all manner of ways; legal tech is just as useful for addressing the access to justice problem and for rejuventating the court system for the digital era in the process. In fact, early signs indicate that the application of legal tech in this area is already bearing fruit. At the event, Lord Briggs, who carried out a review of the civil court structure in 2016, discussed the success of various projects to digitise court forms and bring claims processes online. We also heard from legal tech start-ups who are using artificial intelligence to increase access to judgment data and working to achieve policy change.
It is clear that this area is ripe for improvement via legal tech. The lessons learned in private practice are of value here - a key lesson being the importance of user-centric design. It is well known that designing with the user in mind and involving the user at all stages of development is key to the success or failure of a tech project. We should keep this front of mind when trying to improve the experience of court users.
Many of us involved in redesigning the way legal services are delivered often wonder how we might use our skills to improve access to justice.