Assisted Digital Support for Civil Justice System Users: Demand, Design, & Implementation

This report focuses on assisted digital support (ADS) - the process of assisting a person with lower digital capability to use a digital service. The report aims to build an understanding of the role that ADS services can play, as well as their limitations, to inform designers of online legal services. The report also addresses setting up and applying evaluation frameworks for ADSs.

The report notes that in the UK, 80 percent of people could theoretically use the internet for legal help. But there is still a digital divide, often correlated to such factors as employment status, housing status, education attainment, and income. However, it is stressed that ADS cannot solve the problem of a user's legal capability being lower than required of a specific legal process.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • "ensure users are clear as to what ADS is and what it is not, so as to minimize the risk of higher rates of take-up by users who are seeking legal rather than digital assistance
  • provide users with appropriate technical information tailored to that service and appropriate legal information tailored to the relevant area of law so as to minimize demand for help and to ensure users understand what they are ‘signing up for' when opting to use digital services
  • ensure adequate funding for ADS Services and training for ADS staff
  • support service up-take by ensuring that the design of digital services are not seen as inferior to the design of physical services
  • keep users informed as to the progress of their claim/application"