Preventing Digital Exclusion from Online Justice

This report addresses issues of digital exclusion in the United Kingdom context, where courts are increasingly relying on technology, including the eventual establishment of certain online courts and tribunals by 2020. This includes a plan for an "assisted digital service" that would strive to make sure that everyone can use the reformed justice system by providing face-to-face, telephone, and live chat services in addition to websites.

Researchers looked at various groups at high risk of digital exclusion, including homeless people and prisoners, to assess needs. Their recommendations include:

  • "greater investment in “trusted faces” in “trusted places” i.e. services already providing digital support and internet access
  • considering the specific challenges of providing support to the digitally excluded, especially hard to reach cohorts – including testing Assisted Digital services in regions where the internet may be difficult to access
  • paying specific attention to highly digitally excluded groups, like homeless people and detainees>/li>
  • designing online justice services with an independent “look and feel” to reflect the constitutional independence of the courts
  • maximising the benefits of the “multi-channel” approach – helping people move with ease between digital access, phone assistance, face-to-face assistance, and paper
  • ensuring online justice services cater for the most affordable and ubiquitous mode of digital interaction: mobile technology
  • conducting end-to-end pilots of online justice services, learning from hearing and enforcement stages what is required at earlier stages
  • researching how people behave in an online environment and choices between Assisted Digital channels
  • collecting and making available the widest range of data possible to support research by external experts"