Access to Justice and Technology Summit, London, #1

This is a report of a conference held by DLA Piper and Pilnet in London on 17th June. It is the first of two contributions on what appears to have been an important and interesting day. This is from one of the organisers, DLA Piper’s Ozgur Kahale. A contribution from a delegate follows as #2.

DLA Piper’s Access to Justice and Technology Summit brought together lawyers, legal aid providers, technology innovators, researchers and regulators to discuss how technology is shaping and could continue to shape access to justice.

Speakers and participants from all over the world working in the forefront of the A2J realm grouped in London last week to share ideas and discuss technology’s growing role in the legal system. In particular, four main themes were explored at the Summit:

  1. how can we use technology empower people to claim their rights;
  2. who technology leaves behind;
  3. online dispute resolution systems; and
  4. how technology will change access to legal advice and legal services.

Of the four keynote speakers, each shared their unique experiences and expertise which stimulated thought provoking discussions in the afternoon sessions. Shannon Salter, Chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal of Canada described how she built an online dispute resolution system with her colleagues in British Columbia and how this process invited them to rethink the way the justice system works offline too. Margaret Hagan, the Director the Legal Design Lab at Stanford Law School, came to the Summit with a plan to create more effective justice tools and move away from the “My Brilliant App” model that only helps a user with a small part of his/her justice system journey. Richard Susskind, IT Advisor to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, reminded participants to strive for improvements to the justice system rather than perfection when working in the A2J field. Dame Hazel Genn, Co-Director of the University College London Judicial Institute, shared her experience initiating medical-legal partnerships to emphasize the need to bring legal services where clients are and to factor into account differences in client capabilities.

The afternoon were equally engaging. Michael Stubenberg, Associate Director of Legal Technology at the Access to Justice Lab at Harvard Law School, demonstrated how virtual reality can prepare litigants for court and taught lawyers how to code using Python. Other sessions honed in on using technology to help displaced people,  implementing human centered design in legal settings, and exploring the role of artificial intelligence and access to justice.

A report detailing findings of the Summit will be released next month here and the second Access to Justice and Technology Summit by DLA Piper will be held in the US next year.

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