Digital Courts: Coming to a smartphone near you

What’s going on here?

Lord Burnett, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, joins the wave of support in favour of digital courts in an attempt to improve access to justice. 

What does this mean?

Lord Burnett becomes the latest member to join the LegalTech bandwagon. Lord Chancellor David Gauke is another advocate of the use of digital courts (you can read his speech on this topic here). With many people struggling to familiarise themselves with the tedious judicial procedure, the need for change is great.

So, what are the pros of having a ‘smartphone court’? It involves making the judicial process accessible to you with just a few clicks and swipes. By doing so, it gives you a cheaper and quicker process to solve your legal problems. Thus, it opens up the path to justice because, in the words of David Gauke, ‘[the current] complexity and the sense of the system as a secret garden puts people off pursuing justice through the courts’.

Why should law firms care?

Considering the vast success eBay has had from their online dispute resolution (ODR) program, a working digital justice system has been proven to be feasible. The global commerce leader successfully resolves around 60 million disputes a year! Quite efficient for an organisation that isn’t formally recognised as a platform for dispute resolution. Therefore, as leading members of the legal community begin pushing for a change, lawyers and judges may have to prepare to up their tech game. 

Similarly, with commercial law firms already strengthening their LegalTech in the form of AI, implementing ODR systems may not seem so far-reaching after all. If ‘smartphone courts’ prove to be a success, firms could consider adopting ODR systems of their own. In doing so, it would substantially increase efficiency - which all firms and clients would be keen on.

Look out for the future; It might call for a complete overhaul of the justice process.

Report written by Joshua L.

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