Legal information and technology

Innovation and access to justice

icon-pletechnologyA recent paper by Roger Smith provides a snapshot of developments in digital delivery of legal services in British Columbia, England, Wales, the US and the Netherlands.

Mr. Smith discusses some of the issues digital delivery of public legal education and information (PLE) raises for governments, funders, providers and users. He notes that the relevance of digital approaches to people on low incomes is limited by two factors which must be considered when planning digital PLE projects:

  • the digital divide, which disproportionately affects people with lower incomes
  • “underlying all the froth about delivery is the unavoidable fact that content will remain king”

These issues will no doubt be discussed at an upcoming conference on innovation and access to justice. The conference, which will be held in Montréal in early October 2015, will give researchers, lawyers, policy makers, and other stakeholders the chance to explore the future of access to justice in Canada at a critical stage. As noted in the vision statement for the conference:

Over any three-year period, nearly half of all Canadians will experience at least one legal problem. Yet, the justice system is increasingly inaccessible to the majority of Canadians.... we are only beginning to understand the opportunities and challenges that manifest when we begin to view the problem of access to justice through an innovation lens. 

CLEO's Centre for Research and Innovation will be taking part. Will you? For more information, visit the conference Facebook group.