Access to justice

Remote hearings and open justice under lockdown

Remote hearings are here to stay, thanks to Covid-19. That might have happened anyway, sooner or later, but the pandemic has made it both sooner and more certain. On 3 March 2020 the government’s coronavirus Action Plan declared that “The Ministry of Justice’s HM Courts & Tribunal Service have well-established plans to deliver key services […]

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Online Courts and the Future of Justice

Four years on and Professor Richard Susskind has written the same book he wrote last time, so he says. He jests, yet again. The message and the underlying arguments remain constant; the same analogies are deployed (you know, the drill); but tech has moved on, more is feasible and the vision is developed and refined […]

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Access to justice through technology: the providers

The Law Society, in its report Technology, Access to Justice and the Rule of Law, published September 2019, defines the “Access to Justice Sector” as “Comprised of all organisations supplying access to justice services. It includes law firms, Not for Profits, individual practitioner barristers and solicitors, in-house legal teams, government bodies, academics, LawTech businesses and […]

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The Online Court and the digitisation of justice

In its Report to the Civil Justice Council in February 2015, Online Dispute Resolution for Low Value Civil Claims, the ODR Advisory Group, chaired by Prof Richard Susskind recommended the establishment by HMCTS of an online court for low value civil claims, called HM Online Court (HMOC). This would overcome the fact that current practice […]

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Open access to case law – how do we get there?

Open access to case law in England and Wales is in a very poor state of health, both in terms of the amount of case law that is freely accessible to the public and in terms of the sustainability and development of the open case law apparatus in this jurisdiction. It is true that the […]

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Transforming access to justice

HM Courts and Tribunals Service held a public event on 6 November, inviting those who represent public court users to see first-hand the progress made over the last year with the court reform program. One such representative was Roger Smith who has reported back, generally positively, on his Law, Technology & Acees to Justice blog. […]

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What is legal design?

With Emily Allbon Legal design is the process of applying design-thinking to complex legal information, to make the law more accessible and easier to understand for its intended audience. Never was it more evident how ill at ease most of us are when it comes to digesting legal information, than during the pre-GDPR flood of […]

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The role of technology in legal advice and assistance

This article first appeared in Legal Web Watch June 2018. Legal Web Watch is a free email service which complements the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. To receive Legal Web Watch regularly sign up here. Two recent reports consider in some detail the application of technology in delivering legal advice and assistance, viewed through different prisms. […]

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Developments in ODR and the online court

In an earlier contribution to the Newsletter I made the point that the partly hidden “A” as in Online Alternative Dispute Resolution, which tended to focus ODR’s perceived remit on out of court solutions such as mediation and arbitration, was beginning to disappear altogether as more focus was made on introducing ODR into the justice […]

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Online justice news

The new HMCTS divorce online service has moved out of Beta and is now online at www.gov.uk/apply-for-divorce. It offers prompts and guidance to assist people in completing their application. The whole process can be completed online, including payment and uploading supporting evidence. The service has already contributed to a 95 per cent drop in the […]

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What we learned in 2017 (3): The courts

The Online Court From Paul Magrath: The Online Court is probably the most significant element in the massive ongoing HMCTS Reform programme, and the one which will have the greatest long term consequences in changing how justice is accessed and administered. The year began with a lecture at Gresham College by Joshua Rozenberg, based on […]

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Technology and access to justice: the end of the beginning?

Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) looked set fair little more than five years ago to become a world leader in the commercial provision of access to justice for low income clients. In 2011, its then newly appointed director, Christina Blacklaws, announced: “we … want to push the boundaries in delivering advice in other ways for people […]

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