“Better Justice” or Shambolic Justice?: Governments’ Use of Information Technology for Access to Law and Justice, and the Impact on Regional and Rural Legal Practitioners

This report canvasses whether, in an environment where governments are increasingly automating legal processes, practitioners who serve rural and remote locations can truly better serve their clients. The enquiry underlying the report received more than 330 submissions from courts, academics, community legal centres, and key legal institutions and learned about the advantages and disadvantages to increased reliance on technology.

Some of the advantages for practitioners were: increased access to information, reduced travel time, and improved efficiencies in legal practice. Some of the disadvantages were: increased court costs and fees connected to using online solutions, stricter compliance requirements for filing, poor quality of some websites that were not kept updated, poor protocols on instructions for using the technology, the dehumanizing aspect of using the technology, and the potential for inequitable access to law by those on low incomes. Many practitioners also noted that self-represented litigants living in rural or remote areas might face negative impacts in accessing justice due to lack of internet access.