Using Technology to Improve Access to Justice

There is no debate about whether technology has played a crucial role in helping us cope with the harrowing effects of the pandemic. A prominent impact was witnessed within the legal industry where courts and professionals had to rely on technology for completing their work commitments, a practice which became very popular for its ability to offer more flexibility and efficiency.

However, can technology help alleviate some of the challenges faced by the public in seeking legal representation? Here, we look at some of the problems that are faced in the pursuit of legal advice and if technology can work towards reducing them.

What are some of the common challenges faced by individuals/companies while trying to seek legal representation?

Back in 2020, the Legal Services Board (LSB), an independent body which supervises the regulation of legal services in England and Wales, conducted the largest survey of legal needs “Legal needs of Individuals in England and Wales” by partnering up with the Law Society and YouGov. The survey report disclosed how an astonishing number of individuals shy away from seeking legal help for their disputes. For instance:

  • 31% of the adults who encountered a legal dispute had an unresolved legal need because they did not get professional help from lawyers, their issue took too long to resolve or the help that they received fell short of what they required.
  • People with low legal confidence have lower understanding of their rights, find it less easy to deal with their legal issue, are less likely to contact lawyers, are less satisfied with the service they receive and are less likely to think they obtained their desired outcome.
  • People found it difficult to search for prices.

How can Technology improve access to justice?

  • Increased affordability. For instance, legal service providers will be able to increase productivity more quickly if they have access to technology that automates, organises, and produces legal documents. This will allow them to lower their own costs and, as a result, offer their services to the public at a price that is reasonable.
  • Technology can improve communication between the public and legal professionals. If people have the opportunity of choosing and engaging with their lawyers online instead of having to endure delays in finding help for their legal issue, they will receive the certainty and reassurance they need.
  • The availability of self-help tools, guides and key legal information online will allow lay people to understand the nature of their problems, and this can help bring down cases which lack legal standing or are unmeritorious. As a result, courts can deal with important claims swiftly and minimize backlogs.

Are there any consequences of incorporating Technology within the legal practice?

From the information provided above, you can get an overview of some of the manners in which technology and innovation could pave a way for increased access to justice. However, that is not to say that the implementation of technology and innovation within the legal practice will not bring forth any challenges.

Although the most common concerns could be relevant to security, cybercrime, inability to use or access technology and the misuse of data, professionals may also fret about being replaced with technology, especially with the revolutionary emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

As for the former, with adequate supervision, regulatory and safeguarding measures in motion, consumers and professionals could be protected from risks associated with the escalated use of technology. For the latter, at the end of the day, technology will never be able to replicate the empathy, understanding, and sound decision-making abilities provided by legal professionals. The element of human interaction within the legal profession will always remain invaluable.

Barrister Link

Quartz Barristers, a digital-first and agile barristers’ chambers that is becoming progressively popular for its success in providing top-notch legal service, is about to launch its own digital platform known as ‘Barrister Link.’ Barrister Link will act as a middle ground between law firms, clerks, barristers from all over country and the public, providing all parties with the option to assess, pick and connect with their barristers directly.

  • With built-in document organising features, Barrister Link will allow its users to upload and arrange their own documents or bundles, thereby making any administrative process simple and convenient.
  • Additionally, users can instruct their barristers directly from the platform and benefit from its transparency since they will have access to information required for conducting their due-diligence, even prices.
  • With Barrister Link, you do not have to make enquiries with different chambers for several days to find a suitable barrister for your case or your client. You will have the option of exchanging details about your case within the platform and the website will direct you to a list of expert barristers specialising in the appropriate legal field, including their availability.

Apart from its hassle-free built-in features, a primary aim of Barrister Link is to ‘help improve access to legal expertise,’ says Paul Wright, the founder of Quartz Barristers and Barrister Link. Paul shares how he created Barrister Link after wanting to develop a process which will create more flexibility and accessibility for both legal professionals and the public.

Barrister Link is currently undergoing a meticulous beta-test before its launch and will soon be live for the public’s use. To make further enquiries about the platform or about any legal issues you may have please do not hesitate to get in touch with us or arrange a free telephone consultation to discuss your matter further.

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